Nothing could make more mess than baby led weaning with cous cous. Wrong! Puy lentils take the prize…
I try to give the little guy a good old varied diet, but sometimes I feel like I use too many carbohydrates or lean meats and then the vegetables seem to suffer. I go a bit lentil crazy, and the poor kid then gets subjected to my wholesome, hearty, not that attractive lentil creations!!
Lurking in the back of the cupboard were some dried Puy lentils, the dark little French lentils. We probably used them to bulk out a shepherds pie at one time, and then on a vegan detox diet at some other time, but they had long since been forgotten.
Lentils are great, especially for the little people. They are a complete protein, full or iron, potassium, fibre and folic acid…and they don’t need soaking, just rinse and pick out any little stones or shriveled lentils.
So I simmered up this protein powerhouse of a lunch for us both. As you can see, it was a hit…
1/4 cup puy lentils 1 whole garlic clove 1/2 diced carrot 1/2 diced celery stick 1 diced broccoli stalk 1/2 tsp ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon dried mint fresh coriander and mint if you happen to to have some natural yoghurt to serve
Rinse lentils in running cold water and pick out any undesirables!
Cover with cold water and bring to the boil quickly.
Add garlic clove and all the chopped vegetables and herbs, then reduce to a very slow simmer for 30 minutes.
Keep a check on the water and add boiling water to just cover the lentils so they don’t boil dry.
I could kick myself. I find myself humming the tune to the Cow & Gate advert today. The one telling you to feed their personalities…with purees, mush and follow on substitutes! ‘Come on Eileen’, the track originally by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, it’s catchy, I find myself being drawn in by the cute super-group of babies.
Now that I am more savvy towards formula, formula companies and the whole charade of their advertising strategies, I understand that these commercials are no longer just cute and catchy, but carry a more sinister subliminal messaging system.
In 1995 in the UK, it became illegal to advertise infant formula, for use from birth to six months with the introduction of new legislation The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (England) Regulations.
So what exactly have I been seeing on the TV and in the magazines?
Well, the regulations surrounding formula did not include follow on milk, and the formula companies took advantage this loophole.
Statutory Instruments 2007 No. 3521,The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (England) Regulations states for the avoidance of the risk of confusion between infant formula and follow-on formula that… Infant formula and follow-on formula shall be labelled in such a way that it enables consumers to make a clear distinction between such products so as to avoid any risk of confusion between infant formula and follow on formula.
But as you can see from the photographs below, the packaging is almost identical for infant formula and follow on milks, so infant formula is by association being promoted in a seemingly legal advertisements.
This puffs formula powder in the face of the original legislation and the protection it should be giving to the womanly art of breast feeding.
The advert got me wondering what exactly makes follow on milk so popular. Is there any goodness to it, or is it just another way for the formula companies to keep the money pouring in.
The main difference between infant formula and follow on milk is the type of milk protein used. Infant formula has a higher whey content. Follow on milk has a higher casein content. Casein is harder for the stomach to digest, so it sits in babies stomach for even longer than whey based formula, keeping them fuller for longer, which is why these milks are sometimes labelled for hungry babies or nighttime feeds. NHS Choices. 2012. Types of formula. [online] http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/types-of-infant-formula.aspx#close
Follow on milks also claim to contain all of the vitamins that a growing child needs and all of the iron that they require. So how necessary is all of this iron if your child is fed a balanced and healthy diet?
The iron in breast milk is quite clever. It is bound to lactoferrin a protein which aids absorption of the iron. Together with the high content of lactase and vitamin c in breast milk, iron is highly bio available (close to 50%). Being bound to the lactoferrin also means that free iron is not floating around in baby’s gut feeding other bacteria and organisms because of its bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects.
Follow on milk has impressively high levels of iron, but this isn’t matched with the other bits like lactase, lactoferrin and vitamin c. This means that the percentage of iron absorbed is relatively low (around 12%), but also is the perfect feeding ground for iron loving organisms like e-coli which in turn can cause gastrointestinal problems in little people, like constipation and diarrhea.
it seems more and more likely that follow on milk was was designed to promote the formula brands. In line with the advertising laws for formula, infant formula is not included in any in store promotions, displays, price reductions, special offers or even store points like Boots advantage points. Follow on milk circumnavigates all of these issues, it is cheaper, and most importantly can raise the visibility of formula ranges.
So what have I learnt. Babies obviously need plenty of iron, especially over six months old. If not from breast milk then it needs to come from formula. But wherever possible, and as soon as possible, wouldn’t it be best ti ideally get babies iron from a varied and healthy diet. I think that should be the goal to keep in mind.
I just can’t do it. I can’t feed my little guy bland, boring mush. I have been a hardcore baby led weaner since his 6 month birthday and it has been the most magical thing to watch. Every meal is still more entertaining than the Corrie Christmas special. It has given him a pretty adventurous appetite and I just can’t quash his spirits with some unexciting offering.
I usually adapt the family meal so that we can all eat the same thing at the table together. Decanting some bolognese before the final seasoning or going easy on the soy in the Thai curry. But when dinner is less than nutritious or just not suitable for the little guy, I love to cook him up his own super tasty dishes.
I was inspired by one of those fajita kits for this one, unsure on the salt content in the seasoning packet I went back to basics for his own Spanish pepper and onion treat. The smoked paprika is sweet and unique in flavour not too spicy for little tummies.
1 chicken thigh 1/2 diced red onion 1 cup diced red bell pepper 1 cup diced carrot 1 cup diced potato 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika fresh or dried parsley, thyme, oregano, any or all
Seal the chicken thigh in a little olive oil in a medium sized saucepan until golden.
Add all of the diced vegetables and soften on a low heat for 5 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes, smoked paprika and herbs.
Top up with a couple of cups of water and simmer the chicken in the sauce for 30 minutes.
Remove the thigh and shred the chicken off the bone, chop into appropriate sized pieces and add back to the sauce.
Cook out until sauce thickens to desired consistency. Puree, mash or leave as it is. Enjoy.
Since his birth I have been using organic cold pressed grapeseed oil on my little guy to massage and moisturise his body after bath time. I wish someone would do this for me after my every bath time! As always, the amount of research I did to choose this particular oil was totally irrational, but I do so love to research.
I chose grapeseed oil over olive oil, sunflower oil or sweet almond oil for lots of reasons. I wanted an oil high in linoleic acid to lock the moisture in to his skin. Olive oil for example has high levels of oleic acid which over time can let moisture out and dry the skin. I also wanted an oil not derived from a nut kernel so I avoided sweet almond or peach kernel oil, just to keep in line with nut allergy warnings.
Grapeseed was my final choice. It has been a lovely choice, inexpensive and totally natural. So lovely and natural that I started to wonder if I could use it myself.
I have been using a few drops in the evening to moisturise my own face, massaging it in while watching Eastenders, doing my own version of some kid of lymphatic draining massage like I had with my pre-wedding facial. (I will do a bit more research into this soon.)
My face is definitely much softer, much smoother in texture (my main worry) and definitely more even in tone.
Then a friend mentioned the oil cleansing method. I studied intensely before starting the routine myself. It is totally addictive, I’ve got my friends hooked too.
Heres how to do it.
Take a 50 pence sized pool of oil in your palm. Warm it between your hands. Slop it all over your face and massage massage massage and massage some more. 5 minutes slow and purposeful massaging if you can handle it.
Now I do this whilst relaxing in front of Corrie, but for the true holistic experience, put a candle on, get all meditative and envision your beautiful skin emerging while doing the massage.
Then snap out of your meditative state and smother yourself under the heat of a wet hot face cloth. Steam open those pores and wipe the oil away. Repeat the steam and wipe until all the oil is removed.
I think a couple of times a week is good for the oil cleanse, any more and it seems to occasionally dry out patches of skin.
For now I will begin with the story that put me on the path to starting my own blog. My own journey to becoming a mother and my love affair with breastfeeding.
I always love hearing stories of triumph and will to beat the odds and succeed at this womanly art. At every hurdle there is help at hand, in the shape of a tin of formula and a bottle. Want a good nights sleep…formula. Faster weight gain…formula. Mastitis…formula. Pain…formula. It goes on and on. Even well meaning, so called supporters of breastfeeding are all to fast to sabotage mothers hard work. Even one bottle of formula has the potential to start a slippery slope of decreased milk production.
The key for me was education. I spent hours reading everything I could get my hands on. I searched for information about every twinge I felt, the length of a feed, the space between feeds, breast pumps, nipple shields, blocked ducts, cabbage leaves, thrush remedies, homeopathic remedies…the list of google searches was endless. The result, I was prepared for the struggle of my own breastfeeding experience and I knew not to give up, on my body, or my little guys ‘virgin gut’. More on that later though.
In the main my pregnancy was straightforward (read more here). My own mother had c-sections with my sister (transverse) and I (breech) so for me, it was section all the way, even before I was pregnant, it was all I knew. Epidural, tidy scar and the clincher… a steely bladder when I need one. The reality was a lot different, for which I am truly grateful.
I started pregnancy yoga early, at 14 weeks. On day one our yogi, Linda, pointed at her groin and emphatically told us that birthing was a primal thing! I imagined the grunting and groaning and sweating and swearing that I would not be doing.
Pah “I just don’t see me ever getting primal” I declared from my lotus position in my leopard ensemble, waving my manicured hands and flicking my freshly washed and straightened hair.
How wrong I was!
With the training of my wonderful yogi and the support of my class of fellow warrior women, my fantastic husband and my lovely mum, I labored hard and was privileged and blessed to have a very primal (deafeningly loud), drug free, intervention free and beautiful birth. From the spontaneous rupture of my waters in the midwifes face to the delayed cord clamping and natural placenta birth my every request was met.
Back home things started well. When the midwife made her first home visit, she asked if this was my second baby? We looked so comfortable nursing happily in our comfy chair that she assumed I had done it before. When I mentioned the pain I was experiencing at latch she said it would improve with time and that I was doing everything right.
At each feeding the pain worsened, I would grit my teeth, literally curl up my toes, and stiffen my whole body. Even with tears in my eyes, no professional could give me a reason for the pain. Health visitors, lactation consultants, counsellors and advisors… it took nearly six weeks to self diagnose ductal thrush causing the deep tissue stabbing pain and direct those professionals in its treatment and for the symptoms to make themselves visible to the ‘professionals’.
I toyed with the medication I was prescribed. Tablets for me, cream for my boobs and gel for the little guy. I cried every time I had to administer him with the gel in his mouth. I put off taking every tablet I should have swallowed and ultimately I prolonged the whole episode. It took some stern advice from a fellow lactavist to really knuckle down and beat this thrush from my pounding breast. The house smelled of vinegar for weeks, the washing machine never really recovered from three weeks of non stop boil washes.
Was it worth the effort…you bet. I remember sitting in the kitchen nursing my little guy and tentatively asking my mum, “I don’t think this is hurting as much as usual.’ Almost ten weeks of pain that sometimes made even a car journey excruciatingly painful, slowly came to an end.
Only one lady (I like to call her the breast whisperer) got up close and personal with my boobs. She found the most likely cause of the thrush, as is so often the cause with breastfeeding problems, was our latch, To every other health care professional and to myself the latch looked fine, but the pain told a different story.
She watched his sucks intensely, listened to his swallows closely, tried to find his rhythm and pattern of feeding. She bought him in to land like a plane onto my boobs, released his latch and repeated from a different angle. Undignified, yes. But I finally experienced what it should feel like to latch the little guy on correctly at the start of a feed.
It is because of her help that our feeding became enjoyable, and even more than that, became something that I am proud to have continued for so long. Writing this, I should stop by and say thanks to her, I really should let her know the impact she has had on our lives.
If you are in the swing of breast feeding, you feel passionately about it or you just have more milk than you know what to do with…have you ever considered donating to a milk bank. Read more about my milk donation journey and learn how to go about donating your own milk here.
I use this recipe as a bit of an inspiration dinner, It always gets me excited to cook the next meal. Its super easy, you can make it with any or every combination of ingredients, and it is a really good way to introduce sweetness with spices and herbs to your baby food. Just one saucepan does the job, try serving it with rice, cous cous or natural yoghurt.
Give it a go…
1 chicken breast/leg/thigh
1 cup chopped sweet potato/carrot/parsnip/squash…whatever
1 cup water
3-4 dried apricots/small handful raisins anything or everything
few pinches of any combo of the following…cumin/corriander/cinnamon/mint
Dice the chicken into smallish pieces. Chop up the apricots or raisins. Chop up the veg small so it all cooks quickly.
Heat oil in a saucepan and add chicken. Cook for a few minutes until sealed.
Add the water, veg, fruit, spices, herbs…chuck it all in
Bring to the boil and then simmer on reduced heat for around 15-20 minutes or until apricots and veg are soft. There should only be a little bit of water left.
I was lurking in the yoghurt aisle of the supermarket, as you do, looking at the sugar content of baby yoghurts and desserts. Revolting, sugar, water, preservatives and a little more sugar for good luck. The only thing I found to meet my impossibly high specification was the Plum Organic fromage frais, sweetened only with natural fruit pulp. That went in the shopping trolly, but while I was there I took note of some flavor combinations and pudding ideas to try and re-create at home.
The latest addition…£1 for two pots of Ellas rice pudding. You what?! Surely I could do that myself. Now I haven’t made rice pudding for many years, since an attempt that even the birds refused to ingest…So here goes.
Makes approx 300ml of rice pudding (5 small portions for my guy)
50g pudding rice 500ml milk 1 thin strip of orange or lemon peel dash of vanilla extract
Pop it all in a saucepan, bring to the boil, remove the peel and then simmer on low for 40ish minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. Hey presto!
Leave to cool and divide up as you wish. Mine went into some breast milk storage pots ready to freeze. Use within a month and heat until piping hot throughout.
Was it worth the burnt milk on the hob and the impossible to clean saucepan. As I stacked up the little pots I wondered how can one saucepan of rice pudding bring so much satisfaction, I am a bit of a geek like that.
I did ummm and ahhh over to freeze or not to freeze the rice. Rice is notorious for breeding bacteria if not used within a reasonable time, but I use my own judgement and finish the pots on the day I defroste them, if any of it makes it to the freezer and I haven’t finished the lot!