Weaning tips and overcoming weaning anxiety.

When Adam was still a little one, and breastfeeding was not going so well I began dreaming about the day I could wean him onto grown up food and stop breastfeeding.  Gradually breastfeeding got much easier and my excitement about weaning turned into full blown anxiety.  I began dreading the day my baby stopped needing me as his only source of nutrition and started eating proper food.  I had visions of him refusing the breast and not needing his mummy anymore once he knew he could get his food from pretty much anywhere and anyone.  I envisioned him having his first taste of fruit and never looking back, leaving me in a heap of misery behind him.  Thankfully I learnt that this wasn’t exactly how things were going to go, and I wanted to share some of my weaning tips especially if like me you are suffering from weaning anxiety.

Be Prepared

Now I’m not saying you need to go out and buy hundreds of expensive weaning books in order to prepare yourself for weaning your little one.  I was lucky enough to be given some books from other mothers who had weaned but actually what was more beneficial was going on the weaning course run by our local children’s centre.  They taught us how to safely prepare, store and reheat food and how to safely begin the weaning process.  They showed us that weaning would not be an overnight process and, much to my delight, reassured us that until Adam hit the one year mark milk would still be his main source of nutrition.  They also taught us what allergen foods were and how to introduce them slowly.  What was also very informative was being taught how to patch test allergen foods on baby’s upper lip when introducing them for the first time.

Be Equipped

This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a tonne of expensive baby weaning products but there are a few things that I’ve found really useful:

  • Ice cube trays – If you’re planning on making your own purees and batch cooking them then you need some silicone ice cube trays.  these are the ones I picked up from Amazon and I’ve loved them! They’re perfect for portioning food as when we first started weaning Adam he would struggle to eat one cube of puree but now he will happily have 2-3 cubes of vegetables at every meal with 1-2 cubes of fruit for desert.
  • Reusable food pouches – Again from Amazon I found this great reusable food pouches for when we’re out and about.  I just fill them up and freeze them and they’re ready for those days when we’re busy out of the house and it means I don’t have to buy him ready made pouches and he still doesn’t miss a meal.
  • Ice lolly moulds – I first picked these up way before I started weaning Adam when the we were in the thick of a heat wave and I was struggling to get some extra fluids into Adam.  I’d express some breast milk and pour it into the moulds overnight and by morning there would be a fresh batch of Breast milk lollies ready for him when he got a bit too hot bothered and didn’t want to be attached to me while feeding.  It was a quick and easy way of getting and extra ounce or two of milk into him without him overheating from my body heat while feeding.  Now that he’s eating and drinking I can make him some smoothie lollies with some blended berries and yoghurt or even with bananas and avocados if you want to get some extra healthy fats into your little one.

Be ready for a lot of mess

To be honest this has been one of my favourite things about weaning Adam.  I’ve loved giving him different textured food and just letting him explore but be warned, no matter how clean you try and keep your little ones, there will be mess.  You’ll find food in their hair and up their nose, they’ll somehow manage to get it into every little crevice of their high chair or Snug Seat and all over their toys but baby’s that are left to get a little bit messy when weaning tend to be less fussier with their foods and it’s also a great way to keep them occupied while you’re trying to eat your own lunch/dinner.

Be kind to yourself

Although I have prided myself on preparing and batch cooking all of Adam’s meals from scratch myself, there are the odd days when I feel like life is busy enough and for those days I’ve found Ella’s Kitchen pouches to be a life saver.  I love their Veg range which means I can still give Adam his veg and I can rest assured knowing they’re all 100% organic and don’t contain any added sugars/salts or any other nasty ingredients.  Just be sure to check the ingredients of any pre made baby pouches as sometimes there’s just a lot more fruit in them than veg giving them a sweeter taste.  My biggest piece of advice is to go at your’s and your baby’s pace and to have fun with it as much as possible.  Remember if you’re breastfeeding like me and suddenly feel like this is the end of your breastfeeding chapter I can assure it wont be, you’ll just be starting a whole new chapter with your little one full of mess and fun!

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Pumpables Milk Genie review…

If you’re familiar with my breastfeeding journey post you will know that I encountered possibly every issue under the sun when breastfeeding Adam.  I also couldn’t have overcome most of those issues without a breast pump to help me through the rough nights and constant engorgement.  Since having Adam I’ve tried many pumps and spent a hell of a lot money trying them but after having tried the Milk Genie I wish I’d found this before splashing out on the others.

On first impressions I was very impressed, for the price you get a lot for your money.  The Milk Genie can be used as a double or single pump and therefore comes with two of everything ready to use for double pumping including two bottles, two sets of valves and membranes and each bottle even comes with a teat so you can literally pump and feed your baby straight away.  Each bottle comes with three different sized flanges which is amazing as most other pumps only come with the standard 24mm flange (the cone shaped shield of the pump that fits around your breast and nipple) however you also get 21mm and 27mm flanges within the kit so you’re sure to find the perfect fit for you without having to buy them separately at extra cost! Win Win!  I’ve spent many early mornings and late nights pumping in absolute agony because I’ve been using the wrong sized flange and just couldn’t bring myself to spend yet more money on buying another size.  With the Milk Genie you are pretty much ready to go from the second you open the box, they’ve even included international plug adaptors for pumping abroad! What more could you want?!

As if all that isn’t reason enough to give the Milk Genie a go, the actual pump itself is portable and lightweight, so much so that you can literally fit it in your pocket or handbag, it’s whisper quiet which is perfect for pumping discreetly on the go or at work and it has a rechargeable lithium battery so you can literally pump anywhere which is perfect for exclusive pumpers.  The memory function on the pump means that you can save your ideal setting, saving you lots of time fiddling around with buttons while pumping in the middle of the night or running around after a toddler for example.

Since beginning my breastfeeding journey with my little boy I’ve had to heavily rely on breast pumps for many reasons, in the beginning I pumped to give my nipples a break from all the constant feeding and when Adam continued to lose weight I pumped to be able to top him up with bottles after every feed.  When we both became quite unwell I pumped to keep up my milk supply as he was too weak to feed and now that feeding Adam is a dream I literally pump to relieve the engorgement overnight when he sleeps through til morning but whatever your reason for pumping I would seriously give the Milk Genie a go, at £108 including free UK postage it’s amazing value for money and I can’t thank Maire (the founder of Pumpables) and the whole Pumpables team enough for giving me the opportunity to try their wonderful pump!  I think I can even go as far as to say this pump is the best I’ve tried and I have tried A LOT of them, it even just nudges the Medela Symphony off the top spot and I’ve had that pump on a pedestal ever since I first tried it.

If you’re a first time mum struggling with breastfeeding like I was, or a working mum still wanting your little to have breast milk while you’re away I’d recommend giving the pumpables Milk Genie a go.

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Teething torture…

I didn’t think I’d be buying teething jewellery just yet but doesn’t time just fly when you’re having fun! Adam is five months old now and I can’t believe it!

I remember being in the newborn stage and really struggling with the lack of sleep and constant feeding and I wished for time to speed up and for him to grow up. Now I’d give anything for those precious moments and for time to just stop! I don’t want him to grow up, I don’t want him to hit that 6 month mark, or start eating solids, or crawl or walk! I want him to remain this little tiny baby that falls asleep in my arms, who can be screaming his little head off  but will always smile when he sees me, and who now gives me cuddles and dribbles on my face!

Sadly though that ain’t gonna happen! So as my little tiny baby grows into a not so tiny baby anymore, it’s up to me to help him along the way.  I’d popped a few teething toys and bits into my Amazon basket but didn’t think I’d be needing them just yet, little did I know Adam would start literally chomping down on my nipples during feeding and soak his clothes in dribble if he didn’t have a bib on! I’m not sure if he’s just being a dribbly, chewy baby or if he’s actually started the teething process but I wanted to give him something that would give him the relief he wanted.  His Lamaze soft toys just aren’t chewy enough!

I found this  Domire jewellery on Amazon and it’s been a life saver, literally!!  It’s 100% silicone so free from BPA’s and all other nasties and also aids development as it provides a distraction for him whilst he’s feeding.  They’re easy to wash in soap and warm water and every now and then I just sit them in a bowl of boiling water for 5 minutes just to make sure they’re extra clean.

The Hungry Caterpillar teething ring isn’t sterilizer safe and shouldn’t be subjected to extreme heat or cold so I just wash this in warm soapy water and leave it in the fridge and the cooling sensation provides relief for his gums and my nipples!

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Baby sensory toys…

If you’ve read my posts from the very beginning you will know that we left it until very late on in my pregnancy to actually start buying things for Adam, and then when he was born a little on the smaller side we did quite a bit of panic buying but one thing I never thought about buying was toys.  We’d been gifted a few little teddies and musical light up toys but other than that we had nothing.

I’d known about Lamaze Toys from having younger nieces and friends with babies but I didn’t actually start buying things until Adam was about two months old and I saw that all the other mummies in our local breastfeeding group had toys hanging from their baby’s car seats and prams and that’s when I started looking into baby sensory toys and how they would benefit his development.  I was under the impression that my baby wouldn’t need any toys until he was sitting up and holding things but as soon as I put his Lamaze Jacques the peacock on the handle of his car seat and he was instantly mesmerized by the colours and shapes.  Now that he’s a little bit older he loves grabbing at all the different textures and sucking on the beak.

His Hungry Caterpillar and Playgro donkey usually hang from his play mat where he loves reaching for them and kicking the rattles.  Although Adam is starting to grab and hold things he hasn’t fully grasped the concept of holding and picking up things so the fact I can easily hang these toys from his car seat, pram or play mat mean he can keep himself busy while I get stuff done.  I have to say though, his favourite toy of all is his Squeaky dog toy from Aldi, he loves the noise it makes when it squeaks and can easily grab onto the hands.  These toys are great for helping little ones with their fine motor development and hand eye coordination and provide hours of entertainment for little hands.

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Products I’d recommend…4 month update

Now that Adam has hit the 4 month mark I’m in a bit of a better position to give my opinion on what products we actually couldn’t have lived without and what we probably could probably have saved on.

Feeding

I’ve recently published a post about the MAM bottles and Breastfeeding starter set so if you’d like to know more about what bottles we’ve used and then I’d recommend giving that post a read but in a nutshell, Mam bottles are self sterilising so we’ve literally bunged them in his changing bag and had them sterilized in restaurants and cafes when out shopping, anywhere that has a microwave and you’re sorted.  Their anti-colic technology has worked wonders for Adam and the silk teat has meant we’ve easily transitioned from bottle to breast and back again with absolutely no issues.  When you’re a first time parent its hard to decipher what will be useful and what will work for your baby and we’d never heard of Mam before so we took a chance but it has majorly paid off for us and I will continue using Mam products for any future babies we may have too.  I’d just like to put it out there that we are in no way sponsored or endorsed by Mam, we just really love what they do.

Another product I couldn’t have survived breastfeeding without is the Medela Symphony I rented from the Medela website.  I’ve tried a fair few breast pumps (Mam manual pump, Tommee Tippee Electric pump, Ardo Calypso, Medela Swing and Medela Symphony) and this has to be by far the best pump I’ve used.  It helped when I was having major breastfeeding issues in keeping up my supply and filling up my freezer with milk.  The symphony was the easiest and quickest and it was so quiet I could express in the middle of the night while Adam slept and it didn’t disturb him at all.  If I could do it all again I wouldn’t have bothered buying any of the other pumps but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Baby Clothing

When I first found I was pregnant I didn’t buy any clothes for Adam, although it physically pained me I restrained myself until I was about 28-30 weeks gone and then I picked up everything I liked in ages 3-6 months.  We were also lucky enough to recieve lots of clothes from family and friends and I didn’t really need to buy much anyway.  When he was born he was so tiny that none of his clothes fit him, even the newborn and first size bits were literally hanging off him and in true first time mummy fashion I went out and picked up lots of tiny baby clothes.  They lasted him about a week before he grew out of them and he hadn’t really needed them in the end.  My favourite clothes on him are the Next sleepsuits, they just look and feel so comfortable and have the nicest designs but I found they just didn’t wash as well as the Mamas and Papas ones.  He got the most use out of his Mamas and Papas vests and sleepsuits as he literally wore them from birth until just a week or two ago when they eventually grew too small.  I’d definitely recommend them as they seem to get slightly looser with every wash hence why they still fit him for so long whereas I’ve found the Next sleepsuits tend to get a little bit smaller with every wash and he’s grown out of them much quicker.

Maternity and Nursing clothes

If you’re anything like me and had been dreaming of being pregnant for as long as you could remember you probably got just as excited about maternity clothes as I did!  I remember finding out I was pregnant when I was just 5 weeks gone and my bump was non existent but I spent hours in Topshop maternity picking up a whole new wardrobe…I bought new jeans, tops, bump bands from Asda, fancy nursing clothes and in reality I didn’t put on enough weight throughout my pregnancy to fit into 95% of everything I bought.  If I could go back now I’d say wait it out and stretch it out as much as you can.  Maternity clothes are extortionate because companies know that women will spend the extra bit of money for fancy maternity clothes.  At the very end of my pregnancy I just bought regular clothes is a size or two bigger and I still wear them to this day as the loose fit makes nursing much easier.

The only thing I would advise picking up is some nursing tops and bras if you’re planning on breastfeeding and lots of cheap leggings, you’ll spend most of your pregnancy in them!  I’ve tried nursing bras from Asda, M&S and H&M and I’ve found the H&M ones to be the softest and most comfortable and have the most room for movement when you’re a little bit fuller before a feed.  Also I found they were a good size during the day and had enough stretch after a night of no feeding with room to grow.  All the others always become too tight and I wake up ready to burst, LITERALLY!

Sleeping

Adam has always been a snuggly sleeper.  When he was very small his sleep was always much better when he was swaddled but when he got too big for a regular blanket swaddle he’d break free in the night, his bastard moro startle reflex would kick in and he’d be awake screaming.  So I did a bit of research and found a product called a woombie.  I literally want to kiss the person who invented this because the second he went into it he started sleeping through the night without even waking for a feed until early morning (hence the need for stretchy bras!).  I ordered my woombie from JoJo Maman BeBe as it seems to be the cheapest place to sell them and although we joke that it looks like a straight jacket for babies, it saved us hours of night time rocking back to sleep.  The material is stretchy so Adam always had room to stretch but he couldn’t break out of it and if he did startle in the night he’d immediately fall back asleep and the vented section at the front meant he didn’t overheat while asleep.  This works best for newborns and now that Adam can roll onto his side I’ve transitioned him into a normal sleeping bag which he sleeps in just as well.  This just happens to be the one I picked up from Marks and Spencer but there are hundreds out there, just be sure you dress your little one appropriately for the tog rating of your bag.

 

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