Friday, 27 February 2015

Baby-Led Weaning: Food So Far

We are almost a month into baby-led weaning! Little Miss loves trying new food, although she prefers moving food around in her mouth and then spitting it back out to actually eating it... Heinz baby porridge is a favourite at breakfast time and she loves eating Yeo Valley yoghurt after her tea, although when she gets her hands on a spoon, she likes to make as much mess as possible, as evidenced below: 

Here are some of the different foods she has tried so far:

Grapes (cut into mini wedges so she can suck the middle out - she usually spits the skins back out again!)
Peaches (slices of fresh peach went down a treat at breakfast time)

Sweet Potato
Peas (including mushy peas from the fish&chip shop - I dread to think how much salt and sugar was in them, but Little Miss loved every bite!)

Tuesday's lunch. Most of it ended up on the floor!

Bread (brown, white, fresh and sliced)
Baby Porridge

Chicken (although she didn't seem very keen)

Yeo Valley Weaning Yoghurts

First roast! Carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and chicken.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


When I was pregnant, my husband and I put a lot of thought into whether we should do some NCT classes. Everyone we spoke to who had done them enthused about how great they are, particularly as a way of meeting other first time parents. A little apprehensive about the cost we decided to sign up and we are now so glad we did. Here are five things I love about NCT:

1) The classes were helpful. For most of my pregnancy, I tried to block out all thoughts of labour and forget what was coming. The classes really helped me to prepare by explaining the stages and different types of pain relief on offer. Furthermore, without our instructor's warning not to get in the car if you were getting the urge to push during labour, Little Miss might have been born on the motorway…

2) Having a baby can be very isolating. The lovely ladies in my NCT group have a group message going on WhatsApp, in which we keep in contact daily, and we meet up for coffee/baby classes really frequently.

3) As a first time parent, you will have so many questions, queries and irrational fears. It's nice to know people who have had babies recently who you can ask for advice - chances are at least one of the other babies will be doing the same strange/concerning thing as yours, which is really reassuring.

4) I have learnt so much from the other mums: great products to buy, foods to try and places to go.

5) Little Miss has learnt a lot too. It's amazing to see the progress she makes after an afternoon with the other babies. 

To be honest, reasons 1-4 also apply to any friends you have who are having babies at the same time. I am the first of my friends to have children, so NCT was a great way for me to meet other people becoming first time mums. Joining NCT was one of the best decisions we made when we were expecting and I would really recommend it. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Baby Einstein Neighbourhood Friends Jumper

For Christmas, Little Miss was lucky enough to receive some money and Mothercare vouchers, which we decided to put towards buying her a jumper. I didn't go out of my way to pick the Baby Einstein Neighbourhood Friends Jumper over the super-popular Fisher Price Jumperoo, it just happened to be on special offer at the time and as they both looked quite similar I decided to give it a try.
And I am so pleased we did! From day one, Little Miss has loved this jumper as there is so much to do, see, touch and attempt to eat! There are three different 'stations' for babies to play at: a sun and parrot; a keyboard; a spinning cylinder with beads and a dog picture in it. There's also plenty of space to attach Little Miss's LaMaze toys, too. It's lovely hearing her hit the keys on the keyboard, or watching her try to cram a musical note in her mouth when she's teething. The seat spins round on a track and Little Miss seemed to learn how to move it quite easily.

Little Miss loves playing in her jumper and she seems really well supported and comfy; although when she first went in it, she was a little too small for the seat, so we had to bulk her out with blankets! It comes apart easily, so has travelled with us to grandparents' houses on a few occasions, although it does take up most of the space in the car.

The only thing Little Miss doesn’t do in her jumper is jump. We have tried bouncing her ourselves (which makes her giggle), bouncing in front of her (which earns a quizzical stare) and using the word 'bounce' as much as possible, but she's just not interested. I don't think this is anything to do with the design of the jumper, it's just that Little Miss doesn't want to . She's exactly the same in her door bouncer - she's happy spinning around and giggling at us, while keeping both feet firmly on the ground! 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Pancake Day

Every year I vow I will do something exciting on Pancake Day, and every year I still with the same old, basic pancake recipe. Were I to be more exciting this year, this are the sorts of delights I would like to make:


Gingerbread Pancakes Gingerbread doesn't just have to be for Christmas! These pancakes look delicious. 

Strawberry, Lemon & Poppyseed Pancakes These make a decadent looking pile. They are reminiscent of summer and are definitely grown-up pancakes.


Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes These sound like a brilliant way to use up leftover mash and also a clever way to incorporate pancake making into dinner time. 

Good for Little Miss

2-Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes The second ingredient is egg, which Little Miss hasn't tried yet. She loves sweet potato so these might be a good way to introduce egg into her diet.

Apple & Sultana Pancakes These look very yummy - if I make them for her I will definitely be helping to eat them too!

What Pancake day creations are you planning for this year?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Five Reasons You Should Consider Reusable Nappies

When my husband first suggested using reusable nappies on Little Miss, I thought he was crazy. But the idea took hold and once we had done some research, we realised it was actually the right move for us. It's not a choice that will suit everyone, but we're really pleased we decided to give it a try and here's my top five reasons why everyone should at least think about using reusable nappies. 

1) They are a lot easier to use than you think, particularly if you get the all-in-ones. The bumGenius Freetime nappies don't even need to have inserts stuffed into them, you just flip the absorbent pads over and the nappy is ready to use. Then you just velcro or popper them up, like you would a normal nappy. 

2) They look adorable. Reusable nappies come in a variety of cute colours and patterns and look a lot more cheerful than disposable nappies. I love these designs from Bambino Mio:

3) They are cheaper in the long run. In fact, it has been suggested that using reusable nappies could save you around £500 (and that's if you're only using them on one child). Plus, quite a few councils in England now offer financial incentives to get you started. 

4) You don't have to just use reusables. If you think they are too much of a faff when you're out, you could just use them at home, or you might choose to still you disposables overnight. There's nothing wrong with combining different options, in the same way that you probably wouldn't use the same style of disposable nappy overnight as you would during the day. I do use them when I'm out, with the help of these very handy washbags, but I use disposables overnight as they last longer.

5) It goes without saying, really, but they are much better for the environment, even when you take into account the extra washing and drying you have to do. It's a small change that can make a big difference.  

Because we weren't sure which style of nappy we would prefer, we bought starter packs of three different types: Bambino Mio SolobumGenius FreetimebumGenius Elemental. The Freetimes are the easiest to prepare, the Mios are the quickest to put on Little Miss (since they're a bit bigger) and the Elementals are the best ones to take out in the changing bag because they are smallest. We have 16 nappies in total and I put a nappy wash on every other day. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Why Motherhood has nurtured my love of ebooks

For the most part, I really love breastfeeding. It's easy, it allows me to have some (sat down!) quiet, quality time with my daughter and it stops those 'I'm hungry' cries in less time than it takes to make a bottle. However, all that time spent feeding can get quite boring. I've seen women at baby groups who can feed while standing up and heard stories of women who made apple crumbles while feeding but I've found that I can't really use the time to do anything other than, well, feed. Even eating lunch can be a challenge if Little Miss is being fussy. However, one thing I can nearly always manage to do is pick up my Kindle. There's no need to use both hands to turn pages, it never matters how heavy the book in question is and if I finish one mid-feed, I can log into amazon and buy the next with a couple of clicks. Breastfeeding has made me well and truly appreciate ebooks in a way I never thought I could.

My Kindle is also superb for night time feeding, when I'm trying to stay awake but don't want the glare of my phone disturbing my daughter or the TV keeping my husband up too. I can set the brightness of my Kindle to a glow which isn't too startling and I'm away. And if I can't reach my Kindle or it's out of battery, I can just grab my phone and carry on where I left off. There has even been the odd, isolated, occasion when I've been reluctant to put Little Miss down and go to sleep…

All of the free/99p ebooks I downloaded on a whim and never clicked open have now been read, as well as a few I paid full price for as I couldn't wait to get my hands on them (such as The Rosie Effect). Amazon's option for delayed delivery before Christmas in exchange for Kindle credit has been put to very good use and is the reason I have now read Gone Girl (amazing!) and The Young Elites.

I took an online Shakespeare course through futurelearn this autumn and it was brilliant being able to load the plays onto my Kindle to read during feeds. I never would have kept up with it otherwise.

Reading is such an important part of my life and I hope it will be important to my daughter too. My only misgiving about making such constant use of my Kindle is that it means Little Miss isn't growing up getting used to the sight of a book in my hands. I am worried that she is instead used to seeing me stare at a screen. But hopefully I make up for this through the amount of time I spend reading to her during the day. Her nursery is already full of picture books and one thing I definitely don't plan on doing is buying picture books on Kindle - I want her to experience the feel of the pages in her hands (and mouth!) and see the bright pictures in all their printed glory. Once she's being weaned and is feeding less I'll probably switch back to regularly reading physical books too. I've already got plenty lined up on the shelves ready to go once I am able to carry them around again.

I would love to know your thoughts too. Do you do anything while breastfeeding? Are you strongly against ebooks, or do you like the added versatility they offer to reading?

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