There is a new craze doing the rounds at the moment – The Tree of Life Brelfie. For those of you who don’t know what a brelfie is, it is a breastfeeding selfie. These pictures use an app called PicsArt to superimpose a tree with roots onto a breastfeeding picture before using different art styles to add an effect to the picture.
They are incredible pictures to look at but I have to admit that I was dubious at first. I was worried that despite being visually stunning and despite being a symbol of a proud mother, they would soon just become the latest fuel on the fire of the whole breast vs formula feeding debate. Usually calm and centred women would once again become enraged because they perceived a beautiful picture to be slighting their choice of feeding. Now due to a number of issues I formula fed my children exclusively after the first few weeks and I was at times shamed for this. However, I really do not see the need for any such debate or ill feeling. Babies need to be fed and as long as they are fed then end of story!
I will happily say that I have so far been wrong in my prediction. All of the pictures that I have seen have been viewed as the beautiful, life affirming, proud mummy moments that they were meant to be. And so do you know what, I decided to do my own. Even though it didn’t work out for me, I did try. I am proud that I tried. I never got a picture of me feeding baby boy but I did get one of me feeding baby girl and so I am celebrating that fact! I am a proud mother!
Share your brelfies proudly ladies!
Weaning: it’s a marmite topic! Some parents love it yet some parents hate it. I am well and truly in the hate it camp (weaning that is, not marmite – I love marmite). Weaning baby boy was difficult and stressful but weaning baby girl has opened up a whole new world of torture.
Baby girl has cows milk protein allergy as well as a possible soya allergy. Until I started weaning this time around I had no idea just how many foods contained milk or milk products. Soya is even worse! These things hide themselves in the unlikeliest of places. I find myself checking the ingredients on product packaging like a mad woman. I must have checked every single loaf of bread in Morrisons last week before literally throwing the last one back on the shelf and stalking off, muttering obscenities under my breath. I eventually found one in Aldi. Now before anyone even thinks of saying the words ‘Free From’ to me, I refuse to pay over £2 for what is the equivalent of half a loaf of (foul tasting) bread.
Baby girl has mostly been consuming fruit and vegetables so far. You can’t go wrong with fruit and vegetables I thought. And then she reacted to peas! Peas! So now, not only am I checking labels for any trace of milk and soya but we have added peas to the list of ingredients to look out for as well. Also, did you know that some chickens are fed soya which can then lead to a reaction when the chicken is eaten? No? Neither did I! If I were at all organised I would just save myself the trouble and make everything from scratch. Unfortunately it is not often that I am in domestic goddess/supermum mode (I still need my mum to come and help me get my house in a presentable condition).
Some people moan about the mess when weaning. That part doesn’t bother me. In fact I quite like to watch my children have a play with their food, it is good for their development. I once tipped a pot of chocolate yogurt onto baby boy’s highchair tray and let him go wild. We both enjoyed that one. The bit about weaning that I don’t like is, well it’s just the weaning in general. The worrying over how much they are eating, whether it is healthy enough, whether there is too much salt, whether that particular food is going to cause an allergic reaction etc etc.
I try my best to make at least 1 family meal a day that we can all sit down and enjoy together. Catering for no milk and soya has its issues though and I am running out of ideas. If there are any chefs out there interested in a 7 day a week, unpaid position, please get in contact! Until then I will just muddle through and hope that my children, by some miracle, don’t grow up to be the world’s fussiest eaters.
Have you weaned children with allergies? Any tips?
When baby boy was a newborn he suffered terribly with colic and wind. Breastfeeding hadn’t worked out for us and bottle feeding wasn’t going much better. Baby boy would cough, splutter and dribble so much milk that we would often have to change his clothes after a feed. Within half an hour he would be in visible pain. We later found out that he was suffering from silent reflux alongside the colic!
It was at the Baby and Toddler Show at Event City in Manchester that we found a solution to our feeding problem. I was walking past the Haberman stand and caught the end of a demonstration. The demonstrator was showing a young woman a bottle. It didn’t look like any other bottle I had seen before. It was a Haberman Suckle Feeder and with its curvy lines and bright green detailing it looked slightly space age. I was intrigued and wondered what was so amazing about this bottle. The answer was impressive and so I bought 6 of them.
The Haberman Suckle Feeder has an innovative design that uses a closed teat. This means that once milk enters the teat it does not flow back into the bottle unless it is released back in by you and so the teat stays full at any angle. This meant that baby boy could be fed in a more upright position which helped him to feed more comfortably. The closed teat system is also good for reducing wind and colic by ensuring that air bubbles are filtered back into the bottle. The really good thing about the Haberman Suckle Feeder though is the way in which is encourages a baby to feed.
Baby boy had to use his jaw, tongue and mouth to actually suckle the teat to get the milk. This meant that he could stop and rest when he wanted without his mouth still being flooded with milk. Unless he was suckling no milk came out. I could hold the bottle upside down and not a drip would escape! It is this technology that makes it perfect for parents who want to combine breast and bottle feeding (be that expressed milk or formula). Babies do not have to learn a new way of feeding. They use the same suckle action as they do on the breast. The bottle also allows for the flow of milk to be varied just by turning the bottle. No need for different sized teats! If you want Dad to share the feeding without confusing baby then this could be the bottle for you.
From the first use of this bottle we noticed a huge improvement in baby boys feeding. He no longer coughed and spluttered because he was in control of his feeding. It was a lifesaver.
Baby boy is now no longer using bottles but I would have no hesitation buying these again in the future if I needed to.
All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.
Image credit – http://www.habermanbaby.com
The world of weaning is an absolute minefield! 6 months or before? Smooth or lumps? Purees or baby led weaning? Everyone has a different opinion and god help you if you disagree with them. Oh and don’t even talk to me about the poo!
I will admit right now that I am finding weaning extremely stressful. I spent the first 6 months of his life getting to grips with bottle feeding – how to prepare the bottle, how long to leave between feeds, which cry meant ‘feed me now’! I feel like we had just gotten to grips with that when all of a sudden everything changes and we have to add food into the mix!
When I first thought about how I was going to wean baby boy I painted an idealistic picture in my head. He would be eating nothing but homemade, organic vegetables and fruits to start off with before moving on to delicious home cooked family meals (smaller portions of course). In preparation I lovingly made a freezer full of vegetable purees ready for that magical 26 week mark when he would be ready for food. Then disaster struck! At 24 weeks he grabbed a piece of garlic bread off my Mum’s plate and started chomping on it! That was not the first meal I had carefully planned and he was 2 weeks too early. Oh well, he obviously wanted food so I thought I would start him on the purees. He hated them! My lovingly prepared, organic purees were not tolerated! What was I doing wrong?
My sister in law mentioned that her friend’s child was doing well with baby led weaning so I thought we would give it a try. I sat baby boy in his highchair and placed a variety of vegetables in front of him. He played with them for a while and eventually decided to taste a few. It was more successful than the purees but still not what I had imagined it would be like. After a week of this I was ready to give up and declare that he would just have to drink milk for the rest of his life. It was completely stressing me out.
It was at a mother and baby group when I was sat talking to a few other new mums about this subject that I realised that they all felt the same way. It changed my perspective a little bit. Why did I have to stick to just one way of doing things if it didn’t work for us. Why couldn’t I mix soft, pureed food with some baby led weaning? Since then we have been experimenting with different foods and I must admit that he will try almost anything. I both spoon feed and let him feed himself, I use purees and finger food, I make him his own meal or mush up a bit of my meal, I home cook and buy pouches (Ella’s Kitchen are a firm favourite). It is a long, drawn out process and I don’t feel that he is doing as well with it as I would like but we just have to keep going. Oh, and I still have a freezer full of purees!
Do you have any weaning tips?
image credit – http://weanmeister.com.au/about-us/
I was out and about the other day with baby boy and he started to get fussy. It was feeding time so as it was a nice day I found myself a sunny spot on a bench where I could watch the world go by. There was another mum sitting on a nearby bench breastfeeding her daughter and I smiled at her nicely as I prepared baby boy’s bottle. She glanced in my direction as I started to feed and then gathered her things and stood up to leave. As she walked past me she turned to me, looked me straight in the eye and said “you are feeding your child poison you know!”
Now I know that there is some controversy about bottle feeding in this day and age when we all know that breast is best but POISON! I was gobsmacked followed by furious followed by confused! Why did she think it was ok to say that to me? I would never criticise a fellow parent for the way they chose to feed their child so why was it ok for her to criticise me?
Before baby boy was born I fully intended to breastfeed. Mr K and I went to a breastfeeding class and I did so much research I was a walking breastfeeding encyclopaedia! When the nurse in the recovery room asked me if I wanted to feed my newborn son, whilst already reaching to pull down my gown before I had even answered, I didn’t even hesitate. Of course I wanted to feed him myself. It was going to be easy, right? I had done the research and I knew exactly what to do. Except that I didn’t and neither did baby boy.
That night baby boy wanted to feed a lot. I was still drowsy from the general anaesthetic and in pain from the c-section so every time he wanted to feed I had to press the buzzer. I needed help latching him on and so every time he came off the breast I had to press the buzzer again. This carried on all night until at about 5am one of the Health Care Assistants asked me, not so nicely, if I wanted her to give him a bottle so that everyone could get some sleep. I was mortified! I sadly agreed and she wheeled him off to fill him up on formula in the hope that he would stop crying and go to sleep for a bit. The next day I had no fewer than four different breastfeeding workers try to help us to get baby boy to latch on properly and that night once again I was asked if I wanted to give him formula.
On the second day, it started again. I just wanted to cry! This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to stare lovingly down at my baby whilst he breastfed not spend 20 minutes practically wrestling him onto the breast and then sit there in agony for 2 minutes before he came off therefore having to start to whole process again. Then a saviour came along. The paediatrician came to do the newborn check. He did all of the routine checks and then asked how baby boy was being fed. Mr K explained that I was trying to breastfeed but it wasn’t going well. The paediatrician’s answer to that was a godsend to my fragile mind. “We are very good at promoting the benefits of breastfeeding but not very good at promoting the difficulties” he explained in a soothing voice “I don’t care how your baby is fed as long as they are fed. There is nothing wrong with feeding him formula”. Oh the relief! I wasn’t going to damage my son, I was just going to feed him.
Once we were home I continued trying to breastfeed but despite help from a number of breastfeeding workers we were never able to latch on properly. The consultants words helped me enormously when I finally decided to stop trying and exclusively formula feed. I did still feel guilty for a while but I look at my son now and he is happy and healthy and I know that I made the right decision for us.
Do you formula feed or breastfeed? How did you come to your decision?
image credit – http://fdsauk.freeforums.org/popular-posters-t1820.html