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    Blogs — Weaning

    How to survive working full time and feeding the kids after work

    How to survive working full time and feeding the kids after work

    As you all probably know I don’t love cooking but I do love good food and I always make sure the kids are fed a cooked meal before they go to sleep - perhaps unnecessary when they’re at nursery and they are fed 3 meals there - but I still think a full tummy may help them sleep better!  One of my main anxieties about going back to work was having time to prepare a meal after I pick the boys up from nursery and fed, bathed, dressed, read to and in bed by 7.30! 

    These are some tips on how to feed your kids a healthy cooked meal after work without the stress..  A little preparation goes a long way!

    1. Prep: On your days off, peel, chop or slice vegetables and store in an airtight container in the fridge ready to pick and choose what you need when you’re ready to cook.

    2. Recipes: Have a list of recipes with quick cook healthy meals - share with your friends and you’ll have a library in no time.

    3. Save: Batch cook and freeze meals, defrost overnight ready to simply heat when you get back.

    4. Quick: Invest in a pressure cooker - this will save you at least half the cooking time.

    5. Slow: Invest in a slow cooker - prepare in the morning and have delicious meals ready and waiting for when you arrive home.

    6. Soak: Don’t forget to soak pots and pans as soon as you’ve used them - this will reduce the time you need to wash up. 

    How we live with food allergies

    How we live with food allergies

    Some of you may know my oldest boy has allergies to some foods.  We found out when he started weaning. Take a read of my blog on how we found out he had serious allergies to all nuts and eggs but here is my story on how we lived and live with these allergies.

    It was obvious to not give DS any eggs and nuts.  As I was also breastfeeding at the time I had to cut them out of my diet too.  We don’t really eat nuts in our food and don’t buy them as snacks except my quick hunger pang fix of peanut butter on toast.  We only ate nuts when they were already in meals when we ate out and as we didn’t eat out anymore so it was easy enough to cut nuts out of our diets.   I also stopped eating eggs.  As soon as I cut out eggs and nuts from my diet, DS’ eczema improved.  His skin became baby soft again. 

    Cutting out eggs from my diet and from DS’ diet was actually harder than I thought it would be. I never realised how many things I ate had eggs in it, in some form or another.  Boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelettes, quiches, fritata, pancakes, even ice cream! There were also the hidden egg foods such as some pastas, cakes, biscuits, some sweet breads to name but a few.  My quick to cook meals significantly reduced in number. This really hit me when I went back to work and had to find new quick after work meals to cook.   

    There are varying degrees of egg allergies.  Some children are only allergic to the egg whites and some are ok with baked eggs where the protein is changed at prolonged high temperatures.  My DS was allergic to all of the egg and even to eggs baked at high temperatures.  So this ruled out biscuits and cakes.  This suited me as I didn’t want DS to be eating lots of biscuits and cakes but actually when his friends around him were eating it I always tried to offer him an egg free alternative.    This became more of a situation at nursery when there were birthday celebrations at least every other week.  I would bake eggless cakes for him when i knew there was a birthday coming up.  The nursery then changed their policy and didn’t allow parents to bring any personal foods in for their child as part of their inclusion policy.  They assured me they would have a batch of eggless cakes for DS when a child brought in birthday cakes.  There was one occasion that DS grabbed the cake from the boy next to him.  It turned out that he didn’t have a cake himself - only a yoghurt.  No wonder he wanted to to take his friend’s cake!

    When we ate out and on occasions when I didn’t bring a homemade lunches DS’ menu choices were limited. Luckily DS isn’t fussy.  There were also times when the message between the waiter and kitchen was not relayed about DS’ allergies and he would come out in a rash around the mouth with the first taste of his meal.  If it began to spread quickly we would give him a dose of antihistamine to prevent further reaction.  This worked each time we had something he was allergic too.  After which our little boy had to wait to eat something else. 

    When we went to visit family and friends it was so easy for them to forget about the eggs and nuts that may have been prepared in the meals - an egg to bind breadcrumbs, hidden in ice cream, in mayonnaise, satay sauce, walnuts sprinkled on salad.  Even though I thought I was really careful assessing ingredients of everything he ate, I still sometimes missed something that DS was allergic to.  I felt really awful that I was so careless so I can only empathise and reassure my friends or family who cooked that DS would be ok - which he was.  We have been lucky so far that we have not needed to use the adrenaline pens.  He has never become hard of breathing.  I am quite religious at bringing his medicines with him wherever we go even for short trips when there’s no intention of him eating anything.  Even when I leave DS with his grandparents and they reassure me they won’t give him nuts or eggs, and as scary as the thought is and the huge reluctance my parents and my in laws were to using the pens, I taught them how to administer the adrenaline - just in case. I just didn’t want to take any chances of them not knowing. We always carried 2 pens with us and left 2 pens with nursery just in case 1 pen wasn't enough.  

    The best message I was ever given was to give adrenaline if you think he might need it.  Not giving it may cause more harm than not giving it if he was having an allergic reaction.

    I hope this hasn’t scared you if your LO has an allergy but I wanted to give a real account of our life with living with allergies.  DS has grown out of his egg allergies and enjoys his eggs in all forms including ice cream!  He has also grown out of most of his nut allergies except peanuts and walnuts.    He will more than likely remain allergic to these for the rest of his life so he has to be careful and carry his adrenaline pens with him. 

    I have always been open with DS about his allergies, even as a baby, teaching him what he can and cannot eat, why he can’t eat certain foods and what is happening when he has a reaction.  He has learnt to ask about things he hasn’t tried before in case there’s anything he’s allergic to.  We’ve found not making it a big deal and not making him feel left out is really important and has made living with allergies much easier. 




    What you need to start weaning your baby

    What you need to start weaning your baby

    Your beautiful baby only needs breast milk or formula for the first 6 months of his life.  Around 6 months of age you will start to wean your baby on to solids.  Here's a list of what do you need to prepare for this exciting time in your baby’s life and to make a somewhat messy experience a little bit easier for you!

    • Highchair – when your baby is able to sit unsupported, around 6 months, a highchair to keep your baby upright whilst feeding reduces the risk of choking. There are plenty out there – whether it be one with a tray, or one that slides under the table, or even a booster seat that attaches to a dining chair. We recommend the Baby Dan chair – here’s why
    • Bibs – we’re not going to lie – bibs are not foolproof but they do protect most of your baby’s clothes from the mess that we can guarantee will occur.  Ones with a lip to catch anything that the baby misses from their mouths are great. We recommend something soft so that they can sit comfortably with it. We recommend the Bibetta bibs with sleeves
    • Bowls/plates – colourful and stylish bowls and plates that are resistant to breaking when dropped or flung will make weaning more fun for your little one. There are suction ones too that will resist movement from your child to reduce the likelihood of mess.  We like to use plastic free dishes for our babies.  See our collection here.
    • Spoons – a small soft baby spoon is ideal to avoid injury to your baby’s delicate gums.
    • Table/Placemat – a removable placemat or an easy wipe table cloth will make clearing up a little bit easier.  You’ll regret it once you realise wiping off dried food is a nightmare.  Our plastic free placemats are great – especially baby led weaning.
    • Mess mat  - guaranteed floor mess on your carpet/flooring can be saved with an easy wipe floor mat or the cleverly designed Tidy Tot.

    Not essential but...

    • Frozen food storage - batch make those meals for your little one to make life easier.  Initially small freezer trays will be sufficient then storage pots as weaning progresses.
    • Drinks bottle – you can introduce water to your baby once you start weaning – we love plastic free Pura bottles with a sippy lid that can be transitioned to a straw top when they’re ready
    • Lunch bag - a cute cool bag to keep all you need for feeding out and about help you keep organised. Don’t forget to take spoons out with you.
    • Snack pots - are great for fruit and small portions of food for when your little one cant’ wait for meal time.

    Have a read of some real tips from parents on weaning

    Pincer grip baby led weaning baby uses pincer grip to eat peas

    Pinch of pea

    LO was served some prawn fried rice - made following Connie's lovely recipe. It had peas in it and I naturally just served what was in our meal.  8 weeks into our baby led weaning journey I didn't expect LO to eat the peas as they are so small (I use petit pois) but to my surprise he used his fingers and actually managed to pick them up.  This is what is called the pincer grip - using fore finger and thumb to pick things up instead of thumb and palm.  The pincer grip usually develops around 7-9 months of age.  I have been serving him foods of different sizes before this and he has managed to pick most pieces of food up but I don't remember giving him anything quite so small.  Rice doesn't really count as he usually just grabs a hand or fingerful.  Baby led weaning allows the baby to practice their fine motor movements when they grasp or pinch for food to take to their mouths.

    Fork it!

    Fork it!

    LO is coming along smashingly with his weaning. He recognises that when his placemat comes out and his bib goes on - his food is ready. We moved our dining room table around so it's now to the edge of our dining room, instead of in the middle of the room, to give big brother more space to play in - but it means I sit quite close to LO.  What I didn't expect was little one to get upset with me sitting near him.  I wondered why.  I'm pretty sure he likes me. I wondered if it was because he was getting frustrated at not being able to get his food and saw that the plate in his placemat was nearly empty so I started to pick up some bits of food from the placemat and from his bib pocket to put back in (can't waste food right?) but just as I reached over he grabbed my fork.  When I moved it away he got angry! Boy, does he have a strong grip.  I tried again - and he reached again - this time though - he squealed and cried... and the only thing to stop him wasn't to give him more food but a spoon to play with. And since then I've had to make sure he gets a spoon with his meal with another spoon nearby just in case he drops it so I can, with lightening speed, replace it - or we know soon enough when LO doesn't have a piece of cutlery nearby!  

    Useful links:

    Onco Silicone 2 in 1 Plate and Placemat

    Bibetta Ultrabib

    New foods:

    Day 36 - 43

    Mango - slippery! Big chunks required.

    Tender lamb curry - love the spices

    Black garlic ribs