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The Messy Reality of Baby-Led Weaning

So baby-led weaning seems to be the new "trendy" way to wean your little one and there are hundreds of catalogue perfect photographs of babies eating perfectly prepped meals with fresh organic vegetables and exotic fruits everywhere. Hey, I post some similar photographs on my instagram occasionally, but in reality, this picture is much much different. The mess on the floor, the food splattered walls and the orange-stained clothes with weetabix stuck like cement all over them, never mind your actual baby! Your baby now resembles the incredible hulk after they've smeared themselves with that delicious avocado smash you've just slaved away in the kitchen preparing.

 

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F loves to eat and enjoys her food, but her favourite activity at the dinner table, or in fact anywhere, is to feed the dog! Purposefully looking at the position and stance so Willow can just catch it and swallow it whole. Yes! Unfortunately, like most dogs, she's a gannet and will eat absolutely EVERYTHING! Even if that means she will soon throw it all back up! Grim! Willow has definitely widened her palate since F has started solids! I suppose its nice that F enjoys sharing, it is a good quality to possess – but honestly, it would be nice if most of the food actually went into her tum! ** rolls eyes**

 

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BLW is fun they said, BLW is easier! Well… I really do not think I have cleaned up so much in my entire life! 80% of every meal and snack ends up on the floor. It can literally be exhausting when you're already sleep deprived and just fancy sitting down with a cuppa. It is a good idea to invest in a table cloth type plastic sheet (I still haven't found time to buy one) to put underneath the high chair to prevent as much food wastage or a couple of clean tea towels are just as handy, but if your baby is anything like F she knows where to throw the food so it lands on the tiniest bit of floor you forgot to cover! Babies!

 

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 My List of BLW ESSENTIALS

I've come up with a simple list of some basic BLW ESSENTIALS that I have absolutely loved having during my journey so far!

  • IKEA Antilop highchair – this super basic high chair is perfect for BLW.  There aren't any nooks or crannys for food bits to get stuck or go manky and is easily wiped down and cleaned. It comes with an optional tray which we are currently using but I love that we can remove the tray and the seat is perfect next to the family dining table so she can eat at the same table as us when she's a bit bigger. This will definitely help her to gain important table manners along with polite social and eating skills.
  • Tommee Tippee Essentials Comfi Neck Bib - this is soft around babies delicate necks and has the perfect crumb catcher as lets face it, theres lots of mess and dropped food. This is also easily cleaned too with a quick wipe down or run under the tap.
  • Various types of suction plates/bowls – Again, most babies love to pick their plates up and tip the contents all over the floor so having a good suction plate/bowl will help to minimise this. However, don't make my mistake and peel the plate/bowl off the tray in front of baby has they soon learn how to do it! F loves this game now and I am forever watching her like a hawk to stop her peeling the plate off and launching it across the room!
  • Plastic sheet/table cloth for the floor – as above, definitely needed to minimise food waste so the dropped food can be picked up/easily cleaned up
  • Munchkin 360 Non-spill beaker and/or a basic free flow beaker/doidy cup – it is important to also remember that your baby needs to learn to drink by themselves. A free flow beaker or an open doidy cup is a great start so they learn to control the amount of fluid they take and swallow at a time and then by introducing the munchkin 360 it is perfect to prevent spillages.
  • Various sizes of storage container (we like the Nuby plastic bowls with lids) – as you can tell there is a lot of food wastage especially in the early days of weaning so its a great idea to batch cook family meals and store them appropriately for easy go to meals. Its great for portioning up foods too as to not overwhelm your babe with lots of food all at once.

 

For us, this is the bare essentials for a smooth start to BLW! However, THE most important aspect is to RELAX!

Introducing solids should be a fun time for both parent and baby and a positive learning experience to encourage hand eye coordination, facilitating age appropriate oral muscle development that helps with speech when baby is older and of course is a good sensory experience with all the different colours, textures and tastes of foods!

Its wise to introduce family foods at 6 months+ along with their normal milk (breastmilk or formula) but cut into finger sized portions or offer foods that are easily grasped until baby has at least learnt to chew. Examples are broccoli florets so baby can hold the stem, sweet potato wedges/chips, toast cut into soldiers, omelette cut into triangles etc. Then in the following few months introduce smaller foods, things like peas or sweetcorn to help with their developing pincer grip. Its also great fun to watch them rolling the peas between their fingers all intrigued. I know a lot of new mums are so worried about choking, so I have wrote a little blog post on knowing the difference between gagging and choking. Click here to have a read.

I truly believe that by encouraging your baby to join in with family mealtimes and eating at the table will facilitate a healthy relationship with food and encourage them to try new foods and essentially copy the rest of the family. Even now I get comments to say how well F eats and the wide variety of foods she will try. By offering family foods from 6 months plus, it will make your weaning journey easier and your baby is less likely to start rejecting different textures or colours when they're older. It also encourages independence and most importantly choice which will set them up for hopefully choosing healthier food options right into adulthood.

 

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I really hope this helps and encourages new mums to give BLW weaning a try.

What are your top tips or favourite foods to offer your baby? We love new ideas!

Much Love

F

xoxo

Banana and Raspberry Overnight Oats

Searching through Pinterest is one of my favourite things to do. I could literally spend hours browsing through all the picture perfect recipes of amazing food and dreaming of cooking up these culinary delights. While browsing I stumbled across the most appetising breakfast idea, overnight oats, and they instantly stuck in my head. They just look so delicious and moresish and most of all filling and I’ve been wanting to try them ever since.

Busy mornings are the norm in our house now that I’ve started back to work so a quick breakfast I can just grab out of the fridge ready to eat for hubby-to be, myself and F is always going to be a winner!

Here’s how to make yours…

INGREDIENTS*

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1/2 cup full fat milk
  • 1/4 cup apricot yoghurt
  • 3 raspberries quartered
  • 4 blueberries halved
  • 1/3 banana sliced

*To make overnight oats for the adults, I just doubled up on the above ingredient list and added lots more fruit!

 

 

METHOD

Start by adding the porridge oats to a small kilner and pour over the full fat milk. You can use the milk of your choice such as almond milk or semi-skimmed/skimmed for the adults. I used full fat milk for F and semi-skimmed for mum and dad.

 

 

Next quarter the raspberries, half the blueberries and thinly slice the banana. I then layered the fruit on top of the oats and milk in the jar.

*** Please excuse my messy photographs, I decided to make these at 9pm at night and was so sleep-deprived and ready for bed I practically threw it altogether and hoped for the best. It worked out perfectly though so it just shows how easy it is to get organised the night before.

 

 

After layering the fruit in the jar I placed a dollop or 2 of apricot yoghurt over the top. Again, you can change the flavour of the yoghurt to your own preference, apricot is just one of our personal favourites.

 

 

Et Voila! All set and ready to go for the morning! Daddy, mummy and baby Fs breakfast ready to grab and eat!

I always feel a little like super mummy and ready for a positive day if I am organised in the morning. It also means that I get to spend precious time playing and cuddling F before I drop her off at nursery, instead of being in a mad rush getting us all dressed and everything ready! You can never get these times back while they’re little, so if throwing some oats, milk, fruit and yoghurt in a glass jar makes my life just that little bit more easier, I am all up for it!

 

Enjoy!

 

Let me know what your favourite flavour combinations are! We are always wanting to try new things!

 

Much Love,

 

F

 

xoxo

Francesca’s Frittata

Earlier in the year we had our second family holiday to Vilamoura, Portugal. We absolutely love it there, the luxurious marina, gorgeous sandy beaches and picturesque Old Village complete with lovely cafes and restaurants. Its the perfect place for a family holiday and I’m sure we will have many more years of visiting there to come.

While on holiday we came across the most delicious frittata in one of the village shops and it soon became a firm favourite lunch time meal for us. It is so tasty and filling and best of all, I’ve found out that its super easy to make too. Winner!

This dish is perfect for lunches, evening meals with some homemade chips and beans or veg, or easily sliced up and stored in the fridge for a quick go to snack throughout the day.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs
  • 300g of white potatoes
  • 1 white onion
  • a few vine tomatoes
  • olive oil

 

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius fan before starting to peel the potatoes. Once peeled carefully cut them into thin slices then using a clean tea towel or paper towel pat the potatoes slices until dry.

Peel and finely slice the onion and cut the vine tomatoes into quarters. It is important to quarter the tomatoes for small babies starting their weaning journey as to minimise the risk of choking. See more on the difference between gagging and choking here.

Using a small oven proof frying pan, drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sliced onion, quartered tomatoes and sliced potatoes. Fry them on a medium-low heat for around 25-30 minutes or until the onions are golden in colour and the potato slices are cooked through. Low and slow is the answer for the perfect frittata and try not stir or flip the mixture too much or the potato will break up.

 

 

While the onion and potatos are frying, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, season with a little salt and black pepper, then whisk together with a fork. The recommended daily salt intake for babies under 1 years of age is 1g so either don’t season with salt or watch the other foods that your baby will be eating for the rest of the day.

Once the onion, tomatoes and potatoes are cooked through and golden, remove the pan from the heat and add them to the eggs.

 

 

Mix the ingredients all together in the mixing bowl then transfer the eggy mixture back into the frying pan and place over a low heat.

 

 

Cook for around 10 minutes until the bottom is cooked, then place the pan in the oven until the egg mixture is fully cooked through, usually around another 10-15 minutes.

Turn out the yummy frittata onto a chopping board and slice up as desired. Serve this delicious frittata hot or cold with some chopped vegetables, baked beans or a simple green salad.

 

 

Et Voila! The perfect frittata the whole family can enjoy together any time of the day.

Do let us know if you give this recipe a try and #Francescaspantry on Instagram.

 

 

Much Love,

 

F

 

xoxo

What’s in Our Fridge?

One thing I love to do is shop for food! Food is life and I just absolutely love it. There is not much I can say that I don’t like, won’t eat or won’t give a try.

I am definitely not a fussy eater.

This is one of the main reasons why I really wanted to wean F via the baby-led weaning route. I want her to enjoy food as much as I do and be surrounded by lots of different types of food and different places to eat such as restaurants, cafes or gastropubs etc. Now I know you can do this during traditional weaning, but personally, I wanted F to know what food looks like in its natural state and natural taste from the beginning. But any foods can be mashed or pureed if you are following traditional weaning. Every family is different and you have to do what is best for you.

Now I am definitely not an expert foodie neither am I a nutrionialist or dietician etc. However, I love to share our family food ideas and if that inspires someone to try one of our simple recipes for the first time or remind them of a similar recipe that they like to make at home, then I will be very happy!

Here’s a snippet of the kind of foods we buy from the supermarket

We are currently shopping at Aldi and Morrisons. We have a kind of love/hate relationship with Aldi. As in, it is very cheap and good value for money but it doesn’t always stock the same items all of the time and I have found that a lot of foods, particularly fruit and vegetables don’t last long. However, I have recently found out that due to the high turnover of foods, Aldi foods tend to have less artificial preservatives in! That explains why they don’t seem to last long, BUT that is a good thing now I have learnt why! Anyway, enough of my ramble, here is our food shop this week.

 

  • Cereals and cupboard foods

Our favourite cereals at the moment are Aldi ‘shreddies’ stuffed with fruits and multi-grain loops. F absolutely loves them with warm milk in the mornings or anytime of day really. They are great as part of a little snack when offered dry with a selection of fruit.

 

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Our favourite cupboard food is anything ‘italian’ based. It is one of our favourite foods and so easy to make something super quick and super tasty. These are our favourites this week.

 

 

Now to make an ‘italian’ inspired pasta dish you definitely need the base of most sauces which is passata, tomato puree and a selection of herbs to add some flavour.

 

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  • Fridge foods

There is nothing better than a full fridge. Full of yummy goodies to grab and snack on such as fruit and yoghurt or a selection of creamy cheese. I love all the fancy flavoured cheeses too such as cranberry or apricot wendsleydale but I am trying to be good, so we didn’t buy any. Cream cheese triangle, ricotta and mozzarella are always a winner in our house. They make the perfect homemade pizza toppings, pasta sauce or stuffed cannelloni.

 

 

  • Fruits and Vegetables

Our fruit picks this week are pictured below. We also bought a multipack of summer berries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries as these are our absolute favourites. They’re perfect for our Frozen Yoghurt Drops recipe and our upcoming ‘mini milks’ remake. We decided to pick up some apricots and plums this week which we don’t normally choose but F loved them while we were on holiday.

Some more of our favourites are vine tomatoes and corn on the cob. They make a great side dish of veg to almost any dish, boil or steam the corn and then bake or grill the tomatoes or even chop and add to eggs or pasta sauces.

We also regularly buy broccoli florets, carrots, peas and bags of mixed frozen veg for this busy weekday nights.

Essential items for us are our maris piper potatoes and sweet potatoes. Both of these make the ‘perfect’ homemade baked chips as seen on our instagram page or delicious creamy mash or potato croquettes (another upcoming recipe for the blog)

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  • Fresh meats

This weeks meals are going to include chicken breasts, mince meat and sausage. These chicken breasts are really big and succulent. They can be baked whole, diced or sliced to make into curries, stews, pasta dishes, goujons and much more. We like the 20% fat mince as it as a lot more flavour than the ‘healthier’ 5% versions. Our go to dishes for mince are spagetti bolognese (classic), chilli con carne, homemade meatballs, lasagne, cottage pie or again a pasta bake. Sausage are great as they come or in a rich sausage casserole.

 

Finally, here is our fridge this week….

 

What are your essential food items and your go to meals?

Would you like to see a week meal planner here on the blog?

 

Much love,

F

xoxo

Gagging or Choking: Know the Difference

As a new mummy with a fast approaching 6 month old baby, it can be a worrying time thinking about how and when is best to introduce solid foods.

The NHS guidelines suggest introducing babies to solid food at around 6 months of age. This is to ensure that their immature digestive system fully develops enough to cope with the food they’re given. This includes pureeing solid foods, adding cereals to milk or offering finger foods during baby-led weaning. Be assured that your baby will be getting all the nutrients they require to be healthy and growing from either breastmilk or formula milk. It is best to wait until you as a parent feel confident that your babys digestive system is ready (at least 6 months old) AND showing the classic signs of being physically ready for solid food.

 

Signs that a baby is ready for solid food

  • They can sit unaided with a steady head
  • Their hand-eye coordination is developed enough for them to see food, pick it up and put it in their mouths without any parental help
  • Their tongue thrust is not as strong and they are able to start swallowing food – a baby that is not ready for weaning will push any food out of their mouths with their tongue

 

Introducing solid food

Personally, I always wanted to go down the baby-led weaning path. This is a totally personal choice and you as a parent have to do what is best for you, your baby and your family, whether that is starting with finger foods or purees. We are all different after all! But I felt confident that F was ready for solid finger food around 23 weeks (so a couple of weeks off the recommended 6 months) so we began our journey into foods from then. Find out how our personal journey began by clicking here.

 

This is the million dollar question that is on the tip of every parents tongue (mind the pun).

It is so scary thinking about the possibility of your squishy baby choking, but let me tell you, choking is so rare when following the recommended guidelines for weaning, as above. Here I’ve added the definitions of both choking and gagging.

 

Definitions

 

  • CHOKINGwhen a person has a severe difficulty in breathing due to a constricted or obstructed throat or a lack of air to their lungs

 

  • GAGGING when a person feels that they are unable to swallow and subsequently feel like they’re about to bring up food from their stomach i.e wretching/coughing/vomiting

 

By definition these words are completely different and are also clinically different when it comes to our precious babies or any person for that matter. Gagging is the bodies natural defence mechanism to help prevent choking. This means a baby will actively try and remove any object from their mouth that they feel will cause them harm or they don’t like; it is a built-in reflex, namely the gag reflex.

It is completely normal for your baby to have the gag reflex and it is nothing to worry about. In fact, it is something that might occur frequently when you first start weaning, so it is majorly important that parents become confident to know the difference and know that it is not dangerous to gag!

Saying that, it is dangerous to try and intercept a gagging baby as this may lead to choking. Don’t place fingers into a babies mouth to attempt to pull food out that you think they may be gagging on. This may push the food back into their throat and cause it to become lodged! If your baby is actively coughing and even has a red face then let them figure it out on their own!

 

The image below shows the major signs and differences between the two with the motto:

Loud and Red, let them go ahead

Silent and blue, they need help from you

being the most important thing to stick with you and remember!

 

 

The important note to take when reading this post is how to recognise the difference between gagging and choking and furthermore, how to act responsibly and accordingly depending on your baby’s reaction as above.

For any further help or assistance or learning and education, I highly recommend the St John’s Ambulance Baby First Aid Course. I did the mini version while attending a Baby & Toddler Show and it was the best thing I did. It really gave me the confidence to know the difference between choking and gagging and also what to do in the case of choking and other life threatening situations with your baby! This in turn gave me the confidence to continue on my baby-led weaning journey with F and so far she is such a good eater and will at least try to eat anything that we offer her!

I hope this information is useful for you and that it will help you to gain a better understanding of choking and gagging and give you the confidence to start or continue your weaning journey straight onto solid family foods!

Check out our recipe posts for ideas on family foods to offer your baby 6 months plus!

 

Much Love,

Francesca

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Pancake Stars

Ever wondered what to do with your browned bananas that are on the way out! Don’t ever throw these delicious sweetness away again! Instead, cook yourself up a treat with these banana pancake stars! Ideal for babies 6 months plus.

They are so easy to whip up and freeze perfectly well ready to heat up in the microwave or toaster as a tasty treat, snack or busy morning breakfast.

These banana pancakes are packed with warm gooey goodness and are unbelievably moreish. I think I probably ate more than F as I couldn’t stop stealing the scraps! They are definitely perfect for the whole family to enjoy any time of day and they are super simple to prepare.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 very ripe bananas with the other 1/2 saved to decorate
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup full fat milk
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon to taste

METHOD

In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients together, the plain flour and baking powder.

In a separate mixing bowl, mash the ripened banana with a fork and once soft and fully mashed set to one side and warm the milk for 10-20 seconds in the microwave. Add the warmed milk to the banana and crack in the large egg.

***TOP TIP** – Be careful not to heat the milk up too much as it will start to cook the egg too soon when combined.

Using an electric whisk, start by slowing adding the dry ingredients to the banana mixture in the mixing bowl a little bit at a time. Whisk through until fully combined.

The batter will be nice and airy and smelling of yummy sweet bananas.

Warm up a small non-stick pan on the hob on a low to medium heat setting. Add a scoop of the pancake batter to the pan and cook until the surface of the batter has some bubbles and a few have burst, usually 1 to 2 minutes.

Carefully flip the pancake with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the underside, usually another 1 to 2 minutes depending on pancake size and heat of the pan.

Place the cooked pancake on wire wrack to slightly cool while continuing to add more batter to the pan. Cook until all the batter is used up.

Once cooled, use a metal shape cutter to cut out the stars or whatever shape you like, or keep it traditional and don’t cut the pancake. However, the scraps from cutting the pancakes are extremely moreish and the warm banana goodness is heaven.

Slice a banana and add to the top of the pancake shapes to decorate, sprinkle with cinnamon for an extra bit of tastiness!

 

TO SERVE

Perfect on their own or serve up with a side of seasonal fruit or fromage frais. If you fancy something a little more indulgent pour over a helping of maple syrup, golden syrup or melted butter.

 

Mmmm I can’t wait to make my next batch already!

 

What is your favourite breakfast?

 

Much Love,

 

F

 

xoxo

Fruity Frozen Yoghurt Drops

This recipe is a quick, simple yet delicious treat for your little one from 6 months plus. It’s adapted from the lovely Zoe’s recipe over at theminimooresdiaries. Zoe is a mummy to one year old Taylor so it is lovely to share our weaning experiences, especially as our little ones are at very similar ages.

These moreish (pun intended) fruity frozen yoghurt drops are just perfect for teething babies to soothe their sore gums and are especially delicious on hot summer days when its hard to keep cool or anytime you feel like a little healthy treat. They take around 5 minutes preparation time so are ideal for busy on the go mummies and with them being frozen they can easily be stored until they are needed.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pot of natural yoghurt or formal frais
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 or 3 strawberries

 

METHOD

In a bowl mash the fruit in a bowl until you have a thick mixture. You can blend the fruit if you prefer a more smoother texture.

Pour the pot of yoghurt or fromage frais on to the fruit mixture and combine until thoroughly mixed.

Line a tray with greaseproof paper and spoon the combined mixture into equal sized drops. Once the tray is filled with the gorgeous fruity yoghurt drops, pop them in the freezer for 30 minutes.

 


Mostly any fruity combination can be used so you and your little one can enjoy your favourite fruits in a tasty frozen yoghurt drop.

 

 

Et Voila! A scrumptious, healthy and soothing frozen treat to be enjoyed not only by your little one but the whole family!

 

 

What are your favourite flavour combinations? Pop me a comment with your suggestions for us to try out!

 

Much Love,

F

xoxo

 

 

Our Story… The Next Step

This week marked another milestone for me as a parent. The dreaded return to work!

 

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I am very fortunate that I am able to go back to work part time, working 3 days a week. For me, I wanted to be able to have the time with F at home while she is still so little and developing and learning new skills all the time. After all, it is so true what they say, they are only tiny for such a short period of time. I did not want to miss anything.

This is the next big step for us in our journey and learning to be apart from one another. We have a secure attachment and we have spent every single day together since she was born so it was a big deal for us! I was so sad to have to leave her and be apart from her but I knew in my mind that it would do us both good. I just needed to keep telling myself that!

We have decided as a family to share our childcare with nursery and grandparents. The nursery we have chosen is absolutely amazing. We love it so much and they have put us at ease and helped our transition run smoothly. We started with 4 settling in sessions before I started back to work. These were 9-11:30am short sessions where she was able to learn that mummy and daddy always come back. She has settled in so well doing this and she also has her favourite ladies already! They gave me the most gorgeous comforter pack for parents and took lots of photos of all the activities she’s been up to and the snacks and milk she enjoyed.

 

 

Nursery has been our best decision and we are so glad we took a look around! We feel that F will learn and develop new skills at nursery by being around other children of a similar age and learn new social skills.

The day that F goes to grandparents, we fill her little rucksack with her favourite delicious snacks and treats to fill her little tum and keep her happy and smiling. Fs first visit with Gran was a success and she was equally excited to spend some precious time with her granddaughter.

 

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F enjoying the swings while out with Gran

 

I think we have a lovely work/life balance at the moment and we love that grandparents get to spend some quality time with F too, so that they can form a loving bond and have lots of fun together!

My first week back at work has been absolutely lovely. All my colleagues have welcomed me back and I feel like I will soon be back into the swing of working life. I must admit though, it has been kind of nice to enjoy a hot cup of tea, eat my lunch to myself and go to the toilet alone, but shhh don’t tell F! My working days have flown by and before I know it, I am on my way home to see my little girl again! That feeling is amazing when I get to cuddle and kiss her after a full day apart. I never thought I would say it or feel it, but its actually been nice to return to work and start the next chapter of learning to be apart from one another, but more importantly, having some time to be me again instead of mummy.

How did your transition go on your return to work? And lucky you if you’re able to be a stay at home mummy, enjoy every moment of it!

 

Much Love

F

xoxo

 

 

 

 

Where does the 1st year of parenting go!?

How is my tiny bundle of joy almost a toddling 1 year old already!? Just where does that first year go?

It seems like 5 minutes ago when I nervously found out I was pregnant! I remember the shock, surprise but utter excitement that I felt. I paced the entire house a million times after reading that one tiny word that appeared on the pregnancy test!

PREGNANT

I couldn’t take the news in and my hubby to be was working a late shift. It was around 4pm when I found out and he would be home at 10pm. I didn’t know what to do for those 6 long hours until he was home. I was pregnant! A tiny foetus with a beating heart forming inside of me! I held my tummy tight and smiled!

The next few hours until his return home were hard as I was on my own with thoughts running through my head of how to announce the news. I remember taking our dog Willow for the biggest walk of her life as I gathered my thoughts and feelings together.

My pregnancy was the most amazing experience and I loved every single moment of it. Okay, so the sickness and nausea weren’t great, but I read somewhere, pregnancy is the best reason to feel ill, and it is so true! Regardless of how ill I felt or how swollen my hands, wrists and feet were, I was still unbelievably happy and in love with a person I had never met before! I am so excited to do it all over again in the future if we are lucky enough to be gifted a second child!

Now the birth! Well what can I say… The most painful yet exciting event that a woman can endure. And yes, it is endure, it is a sheer exhausting marathon that ends with the most overwhelming sense of love, relief, but without a doubt, the greatest achievement of your life. Seeing, holding, cuddling and smelling your baby for that very first time is just indescribable and a memory that will last a lifetime.

Pure amazement!

 

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Our first family photo 26.6.16
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Still in the hospital at a few hours old 26.6.16

 

The newborn days are hard! Full of sleep deprivation, feeding, feeding, feeding and changing nappies. My best advice, like everyone else says, is to actually sleep/nap when the baby does. Newborns sleep so much but not for long periods of time, more like cat naps. So forget the housework, forget the laundry (unless you have any family support that can help out with this) and just enjoy every snuggly moment with your squishy newborn, they really don’t stay little for long and you can soon catch up on housework. Stay in your pjs all day if you have to, have lots of snacks and drinks readily available and settle in to watch your favourite boxsets. Conversely, it is also equally as nice to take a quick shower, shove a little make up on to make you feel human, put some clothes on and go out and visit friends, family or just for a walk in the park. The newborn stage is so precious and passes so quickly, take in every special moment and do whatever you need to do to survive but also enjoy all that amazing baby bubble!

 

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Our precious girl at a couple of weeks old

 

The next stage is the in-between newborn and toddler age. This is when your baby may be at its fussiest because they are learning more about the world around them. The baby is becoming more aware of their surroundings and also due to developmental leaps, their little brains are learning a lot about their mental abilities and wanting to do things that the body just isn’t physically capable of yet. Thus, babies can become very frustrated, whinge and quite frankly, cry a lot. For example they may want to sit up unaided, but their body isn’t physically strong enough to hold them upright or they may want to start to roll/crawl/bum shuffle around but again their physical ability isn’t quite there yet.

 

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Our moody 5 month old. She was not happy and never liked to smile at this stage

 

Now my absolute favourite stage is the post 7,8 or even 9 month mark, maybe later for other babies. But for me, this is when F really began to show her personality and bring to fruition all her physical abilities and started to crawl around and be able to have lots of fun with us. She became such a happier baby and was more settled and content as she was able to get about and grab and play with everything she had been looking at but could never reach by herself.

 

 

We are almost at 12 months old now, I can’t believe my squishy newborn is soon to turn ONE year old! I speak honestly that this year has absolutely flown! I know every parent says this, but the time really does fly and you should appreciate every single moment, whether bad or immensely happy! I feel that I have definitely done this and do not regret any decisions I or we as a family have made. I have breastfed to sleep, cuddled to sleep, held her in my arms while she slept, shared our family bed and slept together, wore a sling and carried her and showered her with all my love  and kisses all day long. Basically I’ve been completely baby led and given her everything she wants and needs as soon as she needs it and never ever let her cry alone. I really have met every single need F could ever have and will continue to do so for as long as I live and for as long as she needs me too. I truly believe this is why F is so content and happy and also very loving and cuddly. We share a secure attachment and I hope this lasts throughout her childhood and into adulthood! That is the most important wish I will ever have for us as a family!

Secure attachment!

 

 

I know every parent, parents differently and they know their baby best but this is just what worked for us as a family and is the best way for us! I will never regret cuddling her or kissing her too much because one day the time will come when she thinks she’s too big for mummy and daddy cuddles and I will be so sad!

 

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A messy baby is a happy baby

 

Please don’t grow up too fast!

Saviour every moment, every giggle, every cry and love deeply!

 

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Much Love

F

xoxo

 

 

Our Wedding Day Dreams

In light of recent tragic events in the world and an unstable government its really affected me emotionally. I have been feeling very saddened and scared at what our country is turning into before our eyes, so I wanted to write a lovely, positive and happy story about Jamie and I’s dreams for our big day full of love and celebrations. It’s not exactly baby-led weaning but it is definitely a big life event for us all as a family and I truly believe that love will prevail and we must all stand together in harmony.

I am super excited to bring all our wedding plans to fruition and after we got engaged I bought the most gorgeous wedding planner off Amazon to help me. It is the best idea to have a planner to write down the little things that you think of so that you don’t forget. I also use mine to store magazine cuttings, leaflets from suppliers and lovely ideas that I have taken from weddings I have attended as a guest.

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My planner is becoming ever increasingly full and we’ve only been engaged 8 months!

The first thing that we did after the proposal was to go searching for the perfect venue. We are both so alike in the ideas and vision we have for our wedding day, so it was quite easy to tell if we liked somewhere almost instantly.

We visited a couple of ‘typical’ and ‘popular’ wedding venues but we both felt they were too ‘corporate’ for us, with many having polystyrene type roofs and a generic, characterless room. I know this works for a lot of people, especially when on a tight budget or you have a large wedding guest list, but we are both hopeless romantics at heart and both love the countryside too. We needed a venue that suited our romantic personalities, somewhere homely, warming and intimate.

 

So we came across Dunwood Hall!

 

My Matron of Honour, Fiancé and I visited the showcase day held at the hall a few days ago and it is even more fabulous visiting it once again.

This place is just magical! I am so glad we stumbled across this hidden gem of a house, nestled in beautiful rolling countryside with a magnificent country grandeur garden and to just put the icing on the cake, pun intended, it is right on our doorstep without us even realising!

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This grand Victorian house is brimming with original artwork and classical features, open fires and original tiled floors. It is warm, welcoming and intimate! We have so many beautiful ideas to make our day truly magical for all our family and friends.

 

 

Now the gardens are spectacular with elegant lawns and meandering paths, fairy dell ponds and even a gorgeous 1920s swimming pool!

 

 

I can’t wait to see everyone gathering around in the garden with their bubbly drinks and watching the children running free and playing lawn games. A relaxing day full of love, fun and happiness felt by all is our dream!

 

Much Love,

F

xoxo