Battle of the bottle – Doidy Cup Review 

One of the biggest battles we have had  since having Arlo is getting him to drink anything from something other than a breast!! I’m sure I am not alone in trying to get my baby to take milk/ water from a cup or bottle. Problem is I really need him to do this so that someone else can care for him while I go out to…..well….. anywhere. Don’t get me wrong I love being with Arlo and breastfeeding him is a lovely time to bond and have cuddles (well saying that breastfeeding has become enjoyable now– it was pretty tricky to begin with but thats another story). But there are times when I need to go out without him for example to an exercise class, out with friends (a few hen dos coming up) and to work. Wherever I go I won’t be able to concentrate and enjoy myself as I will be panicking that he will spend the whole time screaming and the poor person looking after him will be desperately trying to comfort him/ feed him. I’m sure my husband/mum/mother-in-law are more than capable of dealing with it but its not nice for then or for Arlo to be upset.

It’s frustrating as I tried really hard to do all the right things with feeding right from the beginning. Once breatfeeding was established at around 6 weeks we started to introduce the occasional bottle to get him used to it. We also made sure different people had a go at giving him the bottle in hope that he would not relate it to just one person. To start with he would take the bottle with fairly little fuss which was great. In fact Nana first babysat when he was 10 weeks old and he took a bottle & a half off her! But since then it has gone downhill and although he will sporadically take a few ounces here and there in general he will scream every time you get a bottle near him !

Trying to give him water is an even bigger battle! Breastmilk is his favourite thing so although he doesn’t like a teet as much as a boob at least the taste is familiar and like I said SOMETIMES he will take a few slurps. But then there’s water… plain boring water… water which he NEEDS if we want to get anywhere with this weaning! Weaning started off OK (as you may have read in one of my previous posts) but since starting solid food it seems Arlo’s gut has gone on strike and whatever goes in is NOT coming out … It’s not fair, just as the solids were sort of helping the reflux, along came constipation to ruin any progress we were making!

So we have been trying some different methods of getting water into him including different bottles, sippy cups, a syringe and a Doidy cup. The idea of a baby using cup without a lid seemed like a bad one but I thought it was worth a try as a few people had recommended it.

We bought ours from Amazon for £3.59 in a sparkly green colour. We have had a go at using it a few times now and so far Arlo is still working out what to do with it. He sort of laps the water at the edge but ends up dribbling most of it down his front. The slanted shape is good as he can see the liquid inside where as with his Tommy Tipee cup you have to learn to tilt and suck at the same time. Apparently when babies drink from a Doidy cup they use the same jaw movements as when they suck from a mothers breast so I guess it is more familiar to them. Arlo still needs some practice with this but we will persevere as its good training to use a proper cup. Also he seems calmer when I offer water in the Doidy cup. Even though most of it gets spilt at least he does not get as upset as when I put water in a bottle or syringe. 

I have also offered Arlo some expressed breastmilk in the Doidy cup. He responded it a similar way to the water (not much actually got drunk) but I think it might just take time and practise. I have also been struggling to express milk lately as my supply has slowed to match Arlo’s needs in the last month or so. If I want anything above what he normally takes it can be a struggle to produce it. This is so different to what it was like previously. I had an over supply and I had to pump before most feeds in order to not choke and gag my son!! I try to do a little bit of expressing here and there and i am slowing building up a stash in the freezer.

It would be brilliant if he took to the Doidy cup….or just any cup. It would definitely make things much easier. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Has anyone else had a battle with bottles? Perhaps you have a tip of what worked for your little one? I would love any advice!

Thanks for reading.

peace2

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Our Adventure at Centre Parcs 

This past week we have been enjoying our first family holiday at Center Parcs.  It was so lovely to spend time just the three of us and get away from it all.

If you are thinking of taking your brood along on a Center Parcs break I would definitely recommend it for young families. The facilities are really great and its so much fun no matter what your age. I would know as Ive been there as a kid, as a teen, just after I got engaged, when I was pregnant and with a baby so it really is suitable for everyone! All the accomodation is nice and spacious (which is handy with the amount of stuff you have with a baby :S) and they have a cot and high chair available in every lodge. Outside of the accomodation there’s also baby change facilities dotted around the site but what I really like is that they have feeding rooms available which are decorated with pretty images on the walls and are kitted out with comfy rocking chairs and story books (incase you have other little ones in tow).

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As I said before I have visited Center Parcs a few times and each time I remember the joy I get from riding a bike. It is really catered for cycling so you can casually cruise around the beautiful site and soak in the peaceful woodland setting. You can hire bikes and bike trailers once you are there but we took our own bikes and bought a trailer before we went. We purchased a Infantastic bike trailer/jogger through Amazon. At £79.99 is was a bargain as trailers can be very pricey, especially brands such as Burley which are the trailers available for hire at Center Parcs. However, I must say we were very impressed with our trailer and can hardly fault it. It was simple to put together and can be folded down fairly easily for storage and was very spacious with room for 2 toddlers and lots of storage space in the back for bags etc. We also love that it can be transformed into a jogger/stroller which will come in handy when we attend festivals in the Summer and we can easily trudge through the fields and grassy/muddy terrains! As Arlo is still little and not quite sitting up independently we inserted his car seat into the trailer which we secured with the harness and a ratchet strap. He loved being pulled along behind Antony’s bike and looked very cosy in there. The only downside with this trailer is that the zips on the mesh cover are rather taut and you have to slowly and gently zip it up each time to avoid a tear. Put for that price this is a problem we can deal with! If your not keen on cycling you can walk or they have a land train which runs fairly regularly and I noticed lots of buggy parks in different locations including by the swimming pool so you can leave your buggy/pram as you get on with different activites.

Another highlight of the holiday was definitely the swimming pool. The temperature is perfect for Arlo- nice and warm as he can get grumpy if it’s too chilly. There is a baby/toddler pool and ofcourse the slides, rapids, wave machine & jacuzzi are so much fun for adults and older children. We made use of the on site crèche so that we could enjoy the rapids and slides together (rather than just going one at a time while the other holds the baby). I was a bit nervous leaving Arlo with people he didn’t know at the crèche (I’ve only left him twice with Nana so far) and it did take him a while to settle (ok, ok it took us both a while) but he did eventually and the nursery nurses were very sweet with him and kept him happy with painting, playing and cuddles. I only left him for 2 hours but the session was for 3 hours at £22 which is not too badly priced. You can even get the staff at the pool to ring up and check how your little one is getting on which was reassuring for me!

There are lots of places to eat on site including the amazing Pancake House which offers sweet and savoury pancakes and waffles. We went for a sweet and savoury pancake…..each (obviously)! All the restaurants are spacious so lots of room for prams/buggies and they all have have bottle/food warming facilities and offer free baby food!

There are so many activities you can do book but we have done most of them before (pre-baby) and we were just happy to enjoy all the freebies such as cycling, swimming & playing in the play park.

The main thing we did splurge on was the food and a day out at Longleat Safari Park which was cheaper to book through Center Parcs (we got our tickets for the same price as a childs ticket). There is so much to do there it is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been. Arlo had a stimulation overload as there was so much for him to look at. He was amazed by the meerkats but his favourite animals were the Penguins! It is a good time of year to go actually as although some of the animals were not out it was really quiet and we could leisurely make our way around without having to queue or feel crowded.

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All in all it was a brilliant first family holiday. We never tire of the place and will definitely be back again I’m sure. Where did you go on your first family holiday with your little ones? Or perhaps you have a trip planned?

I hope you all had a great week and if you are a mother I hope you were spoilt rotten yesterday! I had a great day. I got pressies and went out for lunch it was the perfect end to a lovely week.

peace2

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Things I am grateful for #3

1. Monthly Milestones. Yay we’ve made it to 5 months! It’s so amazing to watch these little people grow and change. I still feel amazed that he’s all mine and I made him! I feel so privileged to be his mother.

2.  Maternity leave. I am so grateful for this wonderful time off I have had to be with my son. Even though we have very tough days where I want to pull my hair out … I really can’t complain as just this week we have spent our time walking on the beach, attending baby yoga, swimming, chilling in cafes and enjoying messy play at our PEEPS group.

3. Foodie baby. The weaning process so far has been a real adventure, challenging at times but mostly good. Touch wood, Arlo seems to have eaten all the fruit and veg we have tried him with (although some mealtimes we have had to put on ‘pause’ only to continue later due to his mood). Hopefully this means we have a child who will be fuss-free about food in the future!

4. Thoughtful touches. My husband sometimes does little things that can brighten my day like making me a coffee, sharing his muffin with me (even though I’ve already had one) and listening to my worries. After a bit of a meltdown at the start of this week he reassured me that I am doing OK at this whole motherhood thing. I tend to doubt myself. A lot. It’s nice to have someone who believes in you.

5. Simple cooking. Sometimes the tastiest things can be the most simple. Antony and I are always searching for dinners that are quick and easy to make especially now our time is more limited. This fortnight we tried tortilla pizzas. I just part-baked some tortillas in the oven to create a crispiness and then we chucked on a load of ingredients including: tomato paste mixed with herbs as a base, mozzarella balls, chorizo, spinach and peppers. It took less than 10mins to cook and was delicious!

6. Cute outfits. I feel sad when we have to move Arlo into the next size up of clothes. It’s only a few short months of wear out of some adorable ensembles. I love these skinny jeans with braces that we got from H&M. At least I have lots of exciting 6-9month outfits to look forward to!

Hope you’ve got lots to be grateful for.

peace2

 

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Weaning Worries

 

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So I’m going to be controversial here and admit that I have started weaning Arlo onto solids early *dun dun daaah!* I have read everything under the sun on weaning: when to start, signs of readiness, baby led vs purees, food choices ect ect! So I am fully aware that the guidelines state to only start weaning from 6 months (Arlo is currently 5 months and we have been slowly weaning him for about a week and a half). I know many people strongly disagree with the choice to wean early and I know there are risks involved including; choking, infection, obesity, diabetes and development of allergies. However (you must have expected there would be a ‘however’) I am trying to trust my maternal instincts and do what I think is right for my baby, for myself and for our family.

Throughout my journey into motherhood I have worried far too much about what everyone else thinks and have tried to do as I’m told as I have felt clueless about what is right and what is wrong. But, I am trying to take the reins and gain control over important parenting decisions for my child. I am starting to realise that while advice from other people can be valuable I am Arlo’s mum and I know him the best. My mantra needs to be “I am the expert on my child”.

Arlo may not be 6 months yet but I do think he is showing some signs of readiness to eat solid food.

* He is able to hold his head steady and can sit up with some support. I realise the guidelines suggest that a child needs to be able to sit unaided and we are getting there but at the moment he is sturdy enough and the high chair helps to keep him upright!

* His tounge thrust reflex is pretty much gone.

*He is very interested in our food and is often trying to reach out and grab it!

*He is a hungry boy and breastfeeds mostly every 2 and half hours, day and night (and no it isn’t a growth spurt or phase as he has done this since birth). This is very draining to someone who is very sleep deprived and I don’t think I can increase his feeds as this would mean breastfeeding every hour or so!

* I haven’t had him weighed for 3 weeks but he is not far off doubling his birth weight (9lb 7!)

More than anything though the decision to wean was more to do with the dreaded… reflux. My lovely bubbly baby is made unhappy most of the time by gastro-oesophageal reflux. After a feed he becomes very irritable and uncomfortable and brings up his milk. This can be in one projectile spurt or little bits over the next hour after a feed and usually all over himself, me, my husband, over furniture and our family and friends or all of the above! I have become paranoid that people judge Arlo on this behaviour and class him as a ‘grumpy’ or ‘difficult’ baby when in actual fact he is incredibly uncomfortable at these times and the rest of the time he is lovely! If an adult had constant indigestion/ heartburn after eating I don’t think they would be too chirpy either. I have tried everything from different breastfeeding positions, keeping Arlo upright after feeds, giving him medications such as Gaviscon & Ranitidine, changing and monitoring my own diet, feeding him little and often and burping him often but some of these are just quick fixes and some only make matters worse. At times I have found it very difficult and it has really got me down as it seems no matter what I do I can’t make it better for him. I have been to talk to the GP on numerous occasions and have also been to seek advice from the midwives at my breastfeeding support group and the health visitors. All of these professionals have re-suggested all of the above and together we have come to the conclusion that weaning could be an option and it may reduce the reflux. The health visitor did suggest I try changing my diet again but this time to be more strict with what I am eating and cut out all cows protein for 3 weeks to see if Arlo had an intolerance to this. After walking around Tescos looking at the alternatives to diary I decided it was just too depressing to give up those foods especially when I had a strong feeling it would be a waste of time. Most children who have an allergy of intolerance show more signs of this through rashes or other problems with their skin, they may have diarrhoea and a very sore bottom and have problems with their weight. Arlo does not have any of these problems and there is no history of allergies in our families. I am also so exhausted from lacking sleep, cutting out a major food group would steal even more of my energy! I decided something has go to give…. let’s wean!

So to start with I followed the advice of the health visitor and midwives and I gave Arlo some baby rice mixed with breastmilk. I was not keen on baby rice as I know there is no nutritional value, it is very processed and just turns to sugar. But as it is so plain I figured with his regular milk mixed in, it would be something familiar to him and it would give me the chance to test the waters and see how he reacted to a heavier substance. It seemed to be going down OK and staying down but after a few days Arlo was spitting it back out, probably because it is pretty tasteless! I tried mixing in some pureed banana which he preferred but then I thought “this is pointless” and just gave him the banana puree (again I mixed in some of my milk to water it down and provide a bit of familiarity). It has been just under 2 weeks since we started and I must say Arlo is loving it! We are taking things slow and for the first week Arlo was eating once a day and only one teaspoon of food. We have increased this to two mealtimes and a few teaspoons of pureed food. We have tried banana, sweet potato and pears and he enjoys it so much that he gets frustrated whenI’m not spooning it in fast enough! We have stuck to the each food for 3 consecutive days just to make sure Arlo does not have a reaction to it and so far, no problems. More importantly….. I think there is an improvement with the reflux! I have been offering him a milk feed, waiting a short while (15-30mins) and then giving him the solid food as a dessert. 9 times out of 10 the solid food appears to be keeping the milk feed down, HOORAY!

I know it is still early days and the reflux is still there but I am hoping as the amount he eats increases and the texture of food develops the reflux will disappear. I was originally keen on baby-led weaning (before I discovered I had a baby with reflux) but once he turns 6 months old I plan to dive into baby-led as it looks like so much fun.

Please share your weaning experiences whether you weaned early or not, did baby led or purees, your baby reflux or no reflux. I will keep you posted about Arlo’s journey with food.

Thanks for reading!

peace2

 

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Super simple Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

Pulled pork seems to have become quite a fashionable food within the last year or so and I must say we are definitely fans of this tasty treat. Its tender and moist and appears to go well with so many things such as burgers, hotdogs, nachos and much more. We tried a really simple recipe for pulled pork last week which turned out really well! The original recipe can be found at Cincy Shopper, but we did eyeball a few of the measurements and switch out a few of the ingredients. We also swiped Cincy Shopper’s recipe for the pork rub found here.

Ingredients:

*    Pork joint (we used a 500g one)
*    Homemade pork rub (found here)
*    340ml Dr Pepper
*    Sweet Baby Rays honey BBQ sauce (we ended up using about 3/4 of a bottle)

Method:

Take your pork joint and using your hands, massage the pork rub into the meat making sure you cover it evenly.

Place the pork joint in a slow cooker pot and pour over the Dr Pepper.

We prepared this first thing in the morning and set the slow cooker on high so it would be ready in 4-5 hours just in time for lunch (but can be set on low for 10-12). Cover the pot with a lid and leave to cook!

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Once the time is up, and the pork is tender and juicy, drain most of the Dr Pepper.

Then using two forks to pull and tear the pork apart until it is all shredded. This should be simple to do if the pork is cooked right.

Finally pour over the BBQ sauce and mix it in.

We served the pork up in some soft baps. It’s good enough on its own but also goes well with some coleslaw.

We found these so quick and easy to make, we could just prepare is quickly and forget about it until it was ready. Perfect for a lunch time or dinner with some wedges and coleslaw.

Keep an eye out for more (hopefully) yummy recipes in the future.

peace2

Things I am grateful for #2

This fortnight I am grateful for many things but here are my top 6.

1. Calorific food! We have enjoyed lots of naughty but nice treats in the past two weeks including bacon, halloumi, pulled pork and chocolate. Of course it has also been pancake day which meant lots of tasty toppings. I don’t feel too bad as the health visitor has actually prescribed a high calorie diet in order to keep up my milk supply for my growing boy and help cope with the sleep deprivation by keeping my energy levels up!

2. Swimming. Arlo has been attending ‘water babes’ swimming lessons for a few weeks now. It started off really well but he then began getting very upset each time we went in the water. We have since started at a new pool with a much more calming instructor and he is beginning to enjoy it more. I have also found keeping him warm helps so we got him this star print wetsuit off Amazon. Its easy to get on and off as it has Velcro fastenings and was a bargain at £8. I’m looking into getting one with sleeves too for extra warmth! The Splashabout Baby Snug looks good.

3. Halfterm catch ups. Many of my friends are teachers as we met when we were studying education at uni. My sister-in-law is a deputy head and my mum is a preschool teacher plus I know lots of lovely teachers and TAs from work. So Arlo and I have had plenty of company this week catching up over tea and lunches with lots of gossip and cuddles!

4. A more content baby. Arlo’s reflux doesn’t look like it is shifting any time soon but as his body develops he appears to be able to cope with it better. I think feeding ‘little and often’ helps and trying to keep him as still as possible after feeds (which can prove to be tricky!) Over the last fortnight we have had more good days than bad where he appears to be more comfortable and has been able to get on with being his lovely, cute, smiley self!

5. Sunshine! We have had some glorious bursts of sunshine over the past couple of weeks and it’s been lovely. We went to Urban Reef cafe/bar on Boscombe seafront two Sunday’s ago and the weather was beautiful. We were sat outside in the sun and had to take our coats off, it was so warm. Scummy burgers too! We also currently only have one car now as the other is bust which has meant more walks with the pram for Arlo and I. But when the weather is so bright and cheerful its a pleasure to walk.

6.  Me time. I have managed (with the help of my husband) to sneak in some time for myself to achieve some simple pleasures such as doing my nails and enjoying bubble baths.

I hope you have had a great fortnight and have lots to be grateful for.

peace2

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Feeling the love

Sorry that this is belated but I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day with your special people. We had a wonderful weekend. On Saturday we enjoyed a lazy morning with a surprise breakfast cooked by my gorgeous husband. It was accompanied by a freshly made smoothie, Areopress coffee and a homemade card <3. I was even treated to a magazine and a bubble bath!

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Arlo and I made a Valentines gift for Antony too. We made a personalised print on canvas which was simple to achieve but quite effective actually. We used Arlo’s footprints to form the ‘v’ in the word love. Valentines has been and gone but this could make a good Mother’s Day present too!

Our Saturday continued with a walk along Mudeford quay followed by hot chocolate and Dorset Apple cake at the cafe. We took our digital SLR camera along to capture some family shots. We often forget to take the camera when we are out but it was a treat to take some proper pictures rather than just using our phones!

 

I really got into the spirit of Valentines and dressed myself and Arlo in shades of red. I also used my UV lamp to set some red gel polish and red glitter on my nails. I use Bluesky gel polish as its more affordable than other shellac brands. The UV lamp is affordable too I received it as a gift but you can get them for as little as £25. It is brilliant as shellac treatments can cost £20+ each time which is not realistic on maternity pay!

Arlo seemed pretty content this weekend. Perhaps he was feeling the love too!

Can’t help but cover him in kisses!

Hope your weekend was full of love and laughter too!

peace2