Monday, 13 October 2014

Meal Planning Monday: the heating's on

We caved last week - my summertime obsession about the baby overheating has switched (much like the weather) into an obsession about him being too cold. Which is hard when he wriggles his socks and hat off, and screams the house down if you try and shoehorn him into a cardi or jumper. Blankets and heating it is then.

Unsurprisingly there's another casserole in the oven as I type, and dumplings ready to be popped in before too much longer. This weather just seems to call for tender, slow cooked meat in rich winey gravies with lots of root veggies. Full marks to Aldi for their Super 6 this week being fantastic for said casserole.

The weaning is... shall we say interesting? Some days the baby rice stays down and seems to have the same effect on Harry's milk, on other days it doesn't seem to make a blind bit of difference. I'm keeping on, and just hoping for the best.

Breakfasts - we're back on porridge, with chopped up banana

Lunches - I'm randomly trying to use up some halloumi that's languishing in the fridge so - griddled halloumi and houmous in pitta bread with carrot and cucumber sticks

Dinners -

Monday: Leftover beef casserole with mashed potatoes and broccoli

Tuesday: Courgetti spaghetti

Wednesday: Chilli con carne (freezer) with rice

Thursday: Chicken casserole with baked potatoes

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Pesto & pecorino salmon with sweet potato wedges and veggies

Sunday: Slow cooked beef brisket

Lots of comfy, cosy food for chillier evenings here. What goes on your menu when the weather changes?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Meal Planning Monday: a change in the weather

Well I don't know about where you are, but here it feels like autumn blew in over the weekend and all at once the temperature dropped, the leaves changed and with them my appetite. My obsession with cherry tomatoes is abating, I had porridge for breakfast, thought about soup at lunchtime and have a casserole on the meal plan. Defnitely autumn. 

Harry is starting - as per the paediatrician's instructions - baby rice this week. I have my fingers firmly crossed it'll help the reflux as the acid and vomiting were really distressing him this weekend. 

Breakfasts for me will be porridge - I've got some frozen berries that I'm planning to defrost and stew with a little sugar as a topping. 

Lunches - I'm planning to move away from pate and houmous on ryvita to soups. Tomato soup to be precise. 

Dinners - 

Monday: Chilli and rice

Tuesday: Chilli burritos with wedges

Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken & butternut squash casserole

Thursday: Leftover casserole with baked potatoes

Friday: Pizza 

Saturday: Toad in the hole with veggies & onion gravy

Sunday:  Courgetti spaghetti (freezer)

A first outing for the slow cooker for a while, and some nice easy suppers from the freezer. Hopefully a relatively straightforward week to help me with the baby/ weaning/ reflux...

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Weaning - intial thoughts and decisions

I don't think I've mentioned it on here as yet, but Harry has reflux - it's very common in premature babies and to do with an immature muscle at the top of their tummy. We've tried Gaviscon (caused constipation) and are currently on Ranitidine, which is helping with the acid but not the vomitting. There are more meds for us to try but the paediatrician suggested we try early weaning as an alternative.

People have commented about how calm I've been since Harry was born, how in control - in actual fact I'm channeling a a swan and staying in control by paddling furiously under the surface. One thing I wasn't prepared for about motherhood was just how many decisions you have to make, how responsible you are for another person. Sometimes those decisions overwhelm me, it feels like there's just too many, that they're just too big. I'm lucky to have M by my side, but still it feels like the weight of those choices presses on me.

Early weaning is one of those decisions - in my head we weren't going to think about weaning until six months, possibly even correcting by six weeks. My milk supply is stable, Harry is putting on weight, albeit slowly - but the reflux is something we can't ignore. So last week, I logged into Amazon, bought a couple of books and have spent the weekend reading up - I didn't really know the first thing, not even the difference between baby led weaning, and purees.

Oddly, if you'd have asked me as soon as a few weeks ago I'd have guessed I would be in favour of Baby led weaning. However, the fact that we're starting early has meant that purees seem to be the way forward for us. So, for the next 6 weeks we're going to be entering the world of the puree. Starting with a couple of teaspoons of baby rice, made up with my breast milk, we'll be moving on to vegetable and fruit purees in a couple of weeks. The vague plan I have in my head is to start involving finger food and moving towards more baby led elements when Harry can sit up more easily and we're using the high chair and eating around the table, so I guess in reality we're doing a combination of Baby led and puree based weaning.

Reading up and learning about weaning has been interesting and enlightening - I'll certainly be keeping you up-to-date on the blog about our progress and recipes and foods that prove to be a winner for Harry as well as updating my Meal planning Monday posts.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Meal Planning Monday: not just the grown ups?!

This week our meal plan is fairly simple, our budget and belt are a bit tighter than previously owing to the wildly generous* SMP payments from the government. No, really. The other reason for this simplicity is my new reading matter which all centres around weaning. For lots of reasons - post to follow - we're going to be weaning Harry early and I'm at once wildly terrified and excited. How on earth can a baby born six weeks early be ready for actual food seventeen weeks later?

Anyway, nerves and learning about Baby led versus purees aside here's this weeks meal plan

Breakfasts - I'm having grape nuts and banana for me, along with tea and a slice of toast that M brings me while I'm doing my first feed of the day (usually around 5.30)

Lunches - either pate and ryvita or houmous and ryvita with cherry tomatoes - that craving from pregnancy has not gone away.

Dinners - I roasted a chicken yesterday so that kicks the week off for me both easily and thriftily

Monday: Leftover roast chicken with baked potatoes, corn on the cob, peas and carrots

Tuesday: Chicken, mushroom and pea risotto

Wednesday: Leftover risotto

Thursday: Chilli and rice bowls (chilli and rice in a bowl with avocado, cheese and natural yoghurt)

Friday: We're out for the day for M's birthday treat from a good friend, so leftover chilli in burritos with sweet potato wedges.

We've got a wedding to attend next weekend, so I'm leaving meals fairly free and easy for then and then the big weaning experiment begins. Stay tuned...

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Meal Planning Monday: Autumn beckons

We had our first casserole last week, a variation on my chicken leek and butternut squash recipe that I made and froze pre-Harry. This conclusively means one thing, autumn is upon us.

Now we're more used to having a bubba around, we've got back to battling with the house and garden. I say we, but I'm frequently pinned to the sofa feeding Harry so it's mainly M. I'm concentrating on finishing touches, we need a big mirror and some artwork for the lounge, and to start our photo wall in the dining room.

Anyway, back to the meal plan:

I've succumbed to dips and crackers for lunches as when M's at work I need food I can manage with one hand.

Breakfasts are fruit and today that my lovely husband brings me while I'm feeding the baby in bed.


Monday - leftover pasta bake

Tuesday - sausages, baked potatoes and beans

Wednesday - courgetti spaghetti

Thursday - pizza

Friday - cottage pie

Saturday - leftover cottage pie

Sunday - roast chicken

So that's us, the sausages and cottage pie are clear indicators of that slide into autumn. What are your go to dishes as the seasons change?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Feeding the baby: 5 foodie tips to help with your breastmilk supply

Harry and I had a tricky start on the breastfeeding front - as he was in NICU we weren't able to have an immediate attempt at feeding after he was born (first 6 hours are recommended) that would have been important in order to stimulate my milk supply. On the morning after he was born Mark found me on the post natal ward sobbing as I had no idea what to do in order to feed my baby as he was somewhere else in the building and I couldn't get there as I was still full of epidural and spinal block from the emergency c section. . And no one to help me do it either. Fortunately Mark wheeled me to NICU where the staff were only too happy to help and I was provided with a breast pump, steriliser and bottles to start expressing. Great I thought, (only no one told me I wouldn't have anything to express at that point - there was me expecting it just to happen...) and so started our journey to establish breastfeeding.

I'm really lucky now - well part of me's lucky and the other part has worked bloody hard to get a milk supply that's established enough for Harry to start putting on weight. I'm lucky because of the support I've had - a good friend who knows what she's doing, rocked up at the hospital with fruit, nipple shields and photocopied explanations of what we were going to do. I was instructed to eat plenty, drink lots and keep on expressing. And my friend sat with me, distracted me, and kept me going - because it wasn't easy. I expressed, I tried to feed, I fed, I slept, I ate, I drank all the water and I started the whole shebang again. And nearly fifteen weeks on it's getting much easier but my milk supply has needed some help so I just thought I'd note down some foodie things we've found helpful in increasing my milk:

  • Fenugreek - God I hate this stuff, I won't use it when I'm cooking currys because I can just smell it everywhere for ever. However, in capsule form (I got mine from Holland and Barrett) it's a great supplement to help with breast milk - 2 capsules, 3 times a day. And if you swallow them quickly you can't taste them. 
  • Fenugreek water - half a cup a day of the recipe in tomorrow's post (I dilute it in strongly flavoured juice as it's really strong tasting)
  • Oats - porridge, Hobnobs, flapjacks, Orange barley water.
  • Lots of fluids - I have a sports bottle that is permanently full or being drunk from so about to be refilled. I have no idea how much water I'm drinking a day, but lots is a good estimation
  • EAT - largely healthy, but factor in treats also - but mainly just eat. You need to, otherwise milk production will suffer, and I just wouldn't have the energy to feed at all. It's tiring. Amazing, but tiring. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. And keep asking. I ask everyone if my latch is OK. I get Harry weighed at every opportunity. And I keep going to breastfeeding group. Tenacity and stubborness are good skills. 
I'm not a breastfeeding specialist, and this is just my experience, but these things were helpful for me and I hope they're helpful for you. If you have any other food based suggestions of ways to support breastfeeding, why not add them in the comments.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Meal Planning Monday: quick and to the point

 Those who know me, know I'm pretty much a control freak - I like my lists, to be organised, to plan, to finish one thing before starting another. And then I had Harry. I still make lists... I just then promptly lose them or forget about them only to find them two weeks later and realise that I either haven't yet dusted the bedroom or it's been so long since I did that it needs doing again. 

Anyway... moving along from my slovenly domestic ways, happily distracted as I am by our wee man. Food has really gone by the wayside of late - to be honest if I can't fling it at the oven, or don't remember to hoik it out of the freezer we're not having it. I'm genuinely surprised at how little we've succumbed to take aways or toast and marmite as acceptable suppers. 

We're starting to add baby activities into our week now, so meals are not only planned around Harry's feeds, but also when we need to leave the house. Swimming is a favourite and not just because he sleeps like an angel after it. I swear if I didn't need to wake him for feeds he'd easily go through the night on a Saturday. 

Monday: Sausages, baked potatoes and corn on the cob

Tuesday: Ham, egg & chips

Wednesday: Leftover ham, egg & wedges (see, it's different. Honest)

Thursday: Baked tomato pasta with meatballs

Friday: Leftover pasta


Sunday: Roast chicken

What's on your meal plan this week?


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