Happy Tums is here to help you make your baby's transition to solid foods easy, fun and healthy! Happy Tums is owned and run by Nicola and Theresa, both mums who are passionate about providing the best start for their little ones by ensuring they are eating healthy, delicious and easy to prepare foods.
A month’s gone by since I mentioned it in the last post... and it’s *still* on my mind....teething is so savage. Snotty noses, dribble covered clothes, frayed tempers, and just a sleep deprived mess. And that’s just my partner and I as parents right now (self professed pity party). Our baby son started at a beautiful nursery in April and now the lovely nursery bugs are paying us a visit on top of all this. What fun!!!
It had me thinking late at night when I couldn’t sleep/baby wouldn’t let me sleep... how teething is just so unpredictable child to child. As dentists we are taught the age ranges when the teeth are going to make an appearance but really it’s so hard to say! I thought we were having a rough time with two teeth and my friend’s baby, who’s only three weeks older, has six of the things!
By one year old your child may or may not have a fair few teeth, and it’s now recommended for children to have check-up from this age. Really it’s just about acclimatising them to the experience, but it is also helpful for parents to ask any questions or for tips on how to manage the new razor sharp teeth.
To look after the new teethies, try using a small smear of age appropriate fluoride toothpaste across the width of the toothbrush. Be patient with yourself and baby/child, it will likely be a battle at some point but it will also become part of your routine and hopefully set up a lifetime of good oral health. I’d be really surprised if your child liked standard mint flavour toothpastes, so for babies try the brush baby apple mint one (it’s reeeeally tasty). Other flavours exist for different fluoride strengths, keep it age appropriate though... UNLESS your child has experienced tooth decay. In this case move up to the next age group of toothpastes. The ranges are:
0-3 years 1000ppm fluoride3-6 years up to 1500ppm. Most adult pastes are 1450ppm
If you rinse after brushing though the toothpaste no longer protects the teeth as all fluoride (which stops the action of bacteria) is washed away off the teeth. Same logic applies for adults! (And helps keep dental charges lower).
I’ve included a fun certificate for your child to have signed on their special first visit and subsequent visits, and a little chart to show when the teeth are due through.
Things that might help you as an adult get through this process:
SleepCoffee Chocolate (don’t say I said!) SleepSleepStronger coffee
Right, I need to go lie down before the 3 a.m teething screamathon begins again in earnest. Bye for now. xx
Recently I have been asked a lot about which brand of commercial baby food would I recommend – which jar, pouch or packet would I say was the best? And the honest answer is that I don’t know!
And I’ll explain why.
Last year I went to a nutrition conference in London where a lot of the focus was on commercially produced baby food and an excellent report has been produced by Helen Crawley (a fantastic Dietitian, Public Health Nutritionist, and owner of First Steps Nutrition Trust.
The report entitled “Baby foods in the UK: a review of commercially produced jars and pouches of baby foods marketed in the UK” was eye-opening. This was in terms of really looking into to the development of eating habits in babies and how commercial baby foods fit into this today.
And so, I wanted to take this report and interpret it for you all, so that you can make your own decisions on which (if any!) commercially produced baby foods you want to use as you start your own adventures in weaning.
As the report is quite extensive and this area of infant feeding is so emotive, I am going to be breaking it down into 3 different blogs and we are beginning with a look at the history surrounding commercially produced baby foods.
We first saw the introduction of baby foods (smooth, sieved veg and fruit) onto our shop shelves in the 1920’s and these were launched alongside extensive marketing campaigns with a lot of the focus being on the “scientific benefits” of these mass-produced foods. There was this belief that women required and needed expert scientific and medical advice to raise their children!
Baby food companies funded research in the 1930’s promoting baby food as a good source of nutrients, even though evidence showed that the amounts of nutrients in those foods were lower than in home-made foods. (Bentley, 2014) This promoted the idea that something which is “scientifically prepared” was safer and reliably uniform in composition, which took hours of work away from mothers who were maybe feeling just a little bit overwhelmed with everything which comes from looking after a new baby (and this is still prevalent today!)
In the late 1920’s, babies were weaned at around 7 months and predominantly on fruit and vegetables alongside breast milk. However, with increasing marketing campaigns by food manufacturers who not only influenced the consumer, but the paediatrician also; as well as the voicing of “self-styled feeding experts” (we all know some of those even in 2019!), the advice to wean earlier became the norm.
By 1960 in the US, Gerber, the largest baby food manufacturer was spending $3.8 million on TV advertising alone, of a total advertising spend of $8 million. And so, smooth pureed baby foods became the accepted first food for a baby and we still see this today to a large degree.
This carried on well into the 1990’s where in 1995, Gerber was charged by the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) with producing misleading advertising when they made this claim: -
“4 out of 5 doctors recommend Gerber baby food”
The FCC research into this discovered that 88% of doctors has no opinion on baby food brand at all (Bentley, 2014)
We also need to understand how the different decades have impacted on decisions being made by parents and in the 1970’s, the world was seen as much more “modern” – and jars of baby foods became the fashion even more so. By the 1970’s, American babies were fed an average of 864 jars of baby food in their first year, and 74% of babies were also formula fed (Bentley 2014) So what does this mean for children? Well it meant that these babies became acclimatised to tastes and textures of commercially produced food and milk. Such bland foods meant a limited exposure to a variety of tastes and did not allow children to experience a diverse diet of foods and flavours. We know through much research that limiting this exposure has a large impact on food choices in later life and that many children will then tend to prefer highly processed, bland and sweet foods putting their health at risk of all sorts of complications.
In the 21st century, the baby food sector has changed direction slightly and with the introduction of pouches, which are now marketed as fun, innovative, colourful and covered in aspirational graphics.
Manufacturers market their products to parents with messages related to safety, health, great taste and happiness to appeal especially to mothers who want to do the best for their children.
Qualitative evidence from a survey by Maslin et al suggests that some mothers still see baby food as superior and safer than home cooked dishes. With the increase awareness of allergies also, some parents feel it is safer to just stick to the shop bought foods which are clearly labelled with potential allergens which they think are best to avoid. This however goes against current weaning advice where it is paramount to introduce allergenic foods at 6 months to help reduce the risk of babies developing allergies. And research has shown that those with diverse diets and more exposure to homemade foods are linked to LESS allergenic reaction. (Grimshaw et al, 2014)
Today, public health advice is more around promoting a variety of homemade foods of varying textures and including the introduction of solid foods alongside purees if parents still want to introduce smooth, pureed foods to their babies.
Unfortunately, manufacturers of baby foods have what seems like a never ending pot of money to throw at their marketing and advertising campaigns and so it is likely that we will still these products for years to come.
I think the question is around whether they have their place as part of our children’s weaning journey? Well, I think they can be useful in certain situations or emergencies (going on a plane for example if you are puree feeding), but are they really an alternative or better option to homemade foods – we really don’t think so.
I hope if you follow the next 2 blogs which I will publish soon, you will begin to be armed with the info needed to make some informed decisions when you are faced with shelves and shelves of bright, bold and alluring jars, pots and pouches and will be able to decide what place these alternatives food choices have in your little one’s diet.
Blog 2 will look at the nutritional composition of the convenience foods available in the UK today so watch this space!
Baby foods in the UK. A review of commercially produced jars and pouches of baby foods marketed in the UK. First Steps Nutrition Trust 2017
Bentley A (2014). Inventing baby food. California: University of California Press
Grimshaw KE, Maskell J, Oliver EM, et al (2014). Diet and food allergy development during infancy: birth cohort study findings using prospective food diary data. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 133, 511-519.
Maslin K, Galvin AD, Shephard S, et al (2015). A qualitative study of mothers’ perception of weaning and the use of commercial infant food in the UK. Maternal and Pediatric Nutrition Journal. Journal, 1, 1.
With Mother’s Day just passed (Husband did very well after 5 years of practice!) I’ve been thinking a lot about what my ideal day would be in prep for my upcoming birthday! Like many parents who are the ones primarily responsible for the children in the family, I’d really like silence! I’d also quite like an undisturbed night’s sleep, coffee brought up to bed, along with a yummy breakfast and then to be left in peace until I decide to get up. It’s the simple things that you miss the most when they are gone!
It’s so easy as a parent to forget about ourselves. We do everything to ensure our children grow, develop and stay healthy. But how often to we apply the same ethos to ourselves. I know it’s something I constantly have to remind myself and the feeling of guilt when I actually do something for me is ever present and one thing I am trying really hard to overcome.
My children never leave the home without a healthy nutritious breakfast, normally comprising off porridge (with an array of toppings remembering the cashew butter that Jesse must have regularly to maintain tolerance), toast, fruits and water.
Me: I’m lucky if I get to finish my coffee. I always forget to drink a glass of water and breakfast is often the remnants of whatever they were eating (at the moment the crusts from the toast that Jesse very kindly throws in my direction!)
I then pack snacks for my eldest to take to school – something that provides good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate to keep her body and mind fuelled until lunch. I will also grab a banana and some oat cakes or a home-made muffin for the small one to have whilst we are out during the morning. Oh and their water bottles are filled.
Me: I don’t take anything for myself. Although I’ll probably decant my ‘warmed up in the microwave, undrunk coffee’ into my travel mug and fill my water bottle – which remains undrunk until the coffee runs dry and wonder why I’m so thirsty at midday!
Lunch for my daughter at school is packed lunch that I’ve made that morning. Jesse gets his lunch around midday. Again, for some reason I don’t seem to make myself anything at the same time.
And so the day goes on – you get the picture! I’m so concerned with making sure everyone else is ok that I don’t give a thought to myself. And the days I work (from home mostly) are much the same. The limited time I get to work means that making food, nurturing my body just feels like a waste of time (writing this down really does bring home how ridiculous that sounds!) as I want to ‘achieve’ and tick things off the list.
Now I’m guessing I’m not the only one suffering from this affliction?! So, what can we do to correct the balance?
Breakfast - get up just a little bit earlier than the kids each day. Now if you’ve got a VERY early riser then this probably isn’t going to work for you. But I know if I get up at 6 a.m. before the kids wake around 7ish I can get a shower, have my coffee and a bowl of porridge BEFORE the hoards descend. But you see there, I’ve already missed off the glass of water and my vitamin tablet. So perhaps I need to write a little reminder to myself, stuck on my coffee mug, as to what my body needs each morning!Snacks - when preparing the fruit for breakfast it’s a good idea to make a bit extra and stick it in a pot in the fridge. This means anyone (including you) has access to tasty fruit that’s in an attractive ‘eat-me’ style. Snacks, dessert – all sorted.Lunch – eat the same as your child. This means you’re likely to eat something healthy and less likely to put off eating until you’re starving and reach for the biscuits instead. Also, if you add a salad make sure you make more and stick it in the fridge – that’s part of tonight’s dinner or tomorrow’s lunch already prepped.Dinner – batch cook! Now this is something that I have got mastered. I probably make a bolognaise once every 6 weeks. I make a huge portion that gets divided up and frozen. The instant healthy ready-meal. All you need to do is cook pasta, some veggies, or add the salad. And don’t scrimp on the veggies – and again if we’re short I’m the one that sacrifices so that rest of the family get a decent portion.Water – invest in a water bottle that you enjoy drinking from. Something that encourages you to pick it up. A glass is of water is not the answer for me. I really like the stainless-steel bottles that you can get and in fact I already have one but I think I need a sippy spout rather than the sports spout that my one has. How many beakers have you tried for your child in an attempt to get them to drink more? And yet we never consider this as a reason why we aren’t drinking!If you work from home only have the food you want to eat in the house. For me that means no chocolate! All the training and understanding about a healthy diet is not going to stop me reaching for that bag of Maltesers if I know they are in the cupboard. So quite simply I don’t buy them. If I really fancy a treat one evening, then I send the husband out – or shock horror I might have to go myself. And that really says a lot about how much I want them!Create a routine or habits that eventually become second nature. According to a 2009 study, it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit. So you have to stick with these changes for them to be become automatic.
Make the decision to prioritise yourself but not just for Mother’s Day – every day. After you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Now I get that you probably hadn’t heard of us before we popped up on your social media, you spotted a leaflet or someone told you about us. I realise we’re not the UK’s largest charity for parents with a 60 year history. But I think there are lots of reasons as to why you should pick Happy Tums to support you through your baby’s weaning journey.
All workshops are run by Registered Nutritionists. Both Nicola & Theresa have bachelor’s degrees in nutrition and are required to continue this learning to maintain their professional accreditation with both BANT and the AfN.Because of this CPD requirement we are constantly updating our knowledge in this area and making professional judgements and recommendations based upon the most current research.We have practical experience! This means we’ve been there with all our own children, we’ve pureed and prepped, cleaned more high chairs than we care to remember and know exactly what it’s like when things don’t go to plan.Nicola is an allergy expert. With a special interest in infant allergies Nicola can help guide you through the complicated process of diagnosis and reintroduction if necessary.We love food and we love to cook. We share our recipes and tips with all our parents both and workshop and via our support group.Which brings me onto the big one! We offer the original weaning support group with over 1000 members supported by us. This is exclusively for people who have attended our Weaning in a Nutshell Workshop.We will help teach and support you regardless of what route you choose to wean your baby – whether that be with purees or finger foods.We’ve got the reviews to support us. We are super proud of our reputation which has been built almost exclusively via word of mouth.If our public workshop dates don’t work for you, or you want to create your own workshop for a group of friends or family, we can accommodate this. And we’ll even come to your own house where babies can sleep and the tea and coffee are on tap!We are passionate. Nothing gives us greater joy than encouraging the next generation to develop and happy and healthy relationship with food.
Breastfeeding. It’s important to me. I didn’t quite realise how important until I became a mother and experienced the highs and lows that accompany the honing of any new skill. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been drawn to human biology – which undoubtedly led me to study and work within nutrition. But what I’ve learnt over the years is that breastfeeding is more than just biology, more than just nutrition – it’s about attachment, security, nurturing, comfort and so much more. But it requires effort, perseverance and support from those around us in order to achieve it.
For 2 days last week I had had the privilege of attending the first Baby Wisdom breastfeeding peer support training course entitled: Starting the Conversation - Becoming a mother to mother Supporter. Surrounded by other women, passionate about giving mothers the support they need to navigate their own breastfeeding journey.
I come into contact with mothers on a daily basis through Happy Tums. This is often when their babies are 3-6 months old and by 6 months only 1% of Mums are breastfeeding. To me, as a nutritionist and mother, that’s a depressing statistic. But there’s no blame to be laid at this or any other point (other than at the door of the institutions that are meant to fund the support to these women) and blame never solves anything anyway. Every mother should have a choice as to how they feed their baby but also every mother should be supported to allow an informed and true choice. It’s not a ‘choice’ if a mother ends breastfeeding because she was in pain or mistakenly thought her baby should have been feeding on a 4-hour schedule after the first week. Did you know that if all babies were breastfed for 3 months, the reduction in the incidence of gastroenteritis alone would save the NHS in England £50 million per year!* Move over BREXIT!
My own personal experience taught me just how crucial peer support is to a mother and baby who are establishing a breastfeeding relationship. Especially when there is an increasing absence of trained professionals within the NHS system. Sometimes it doesn’t go to plan, the experience is different to what you anticipated and sometimes there are bumps along the way. But with trained, experienced and accessible peer support these hurdles can often be overcome, worked around or solved by sign-posting to other support services. Merely listening and showing empathy to that new mother is often all they need to give strength to continue another day, week, month of breastfeeding.**
And this is why the Baby Wisdom training course is so needed and so valuable. And not necessarily just for women who want to volunteer as breast feeding peer supporters. But anyone who is in contact with women – either before or after birth. The two days were just fascinating, learning not only about the role of a peer supporter but also learning about myself and my own breastfeeding experience. Because with anything in life we are shaped by our experiences. But others should not be shaped by them. My beliefs are not relevant to the conversation with that mother in front of me. But the empathy and support I can give her, which enables her to find her way, is.
The course is called ‘Starting the Conversation’ and that’s exactly how the 2 days felt – a conversation. It was relaxed, fun, uplifting, at times emotional, but above all inspiring. Katie and Anne are so extremely knowledgeable and experienced but their approach to training is how they approach breastfeeding support – with compassion, patience and understanding. And that is a winning combination!
I received an e-mail from a postnatal student recently after the first class in a postnatal yoga course looking for clarification whether or not she could do sit-ups. As part of the first class I always check student’s abdominal muscles to check whether there is any separation of the muscles, extremely common post pregnancy, which I will discuss further below and I am very clear on the fact that sit-ups are a big no-no during this early postnatal period. However, the student in question (who does have a separation) has been attending a specific postnatal exercise class, during which sit-ups are encouraged despite no checking of the abdominal muscles.
I have worked with pregnancy and postnatal women for many years now and it is an area I feel very strongly about. On hearing that sit-ups were being encouraged for a group of postnatal women made me want to put my head in my hands and weep.
However, I have instead decided to be a little more proactive and write down my thoughts on this subject based on fact and science to empower postnatal women to be able to make their own choices on what is right for their body during this important postnatal time.
Remember that during your pregnancy your abdominal muscles have spent nine months learning how to stretch, increasing elasticity to accommodate your growing baby. Important work.
Our more superficial abdominal muscles are called the rectus abdominis (RA) (see diagram below). These muscles connect from the bottom of our ribs to the top of the pelvis. There are two parts to this muscle on the left and the right, which are connected by connective tissue, known as the linea alba. During pregnancy this connective tissue stretches as these muscles come apart to accommodate your growing bump and the associated increased pressure within the abdomen; this is a natural part of pregnancy.
Remember these muscles have taken time to stretch so it is common for them to take time to come back together. The amount of time this takes varies from body to body; we are all different.
In some bodies there can be a significant gap in the abdominal wall between the two sides of the RA muscles; this is known as diastasis recti (see image above). Often when diastasis recti occurs the connective tissue has lost its elasticity, making it harder for it to draw the RA muscles back together.
It is important not to think of these muscles in isolation and to focus solely on these during your early postnatal days. Instead we look to work therapeutically from the inside-out slowly and steadily to heal your body. Francoise Freedman, founder of Birthlight, always says that we don’t want to just paper over the cracks.
Underneath the RA muscles sits a deeper layer of muscles, the transverse abdominis (TA). The fibres of these muscles run diagonally across the abdomen and connect via fascia into the RA. These are the muscles we want to work with, together with the pelvic floor, to work from the inside to stabilise and heal your postnatal body.
When we perform a sit-up all we are effectively doing is shortening the area between the rib cage and the pelvis, by engaging the RA muscles. Performing a sit-up can cause the abdominal muscles to ‘dome’ which will be pushing the two sides of the RA muscles further apart and increasing any separation that may exist, making it worse and possibly permanent.
If focusing purely on the RA muscles in isolation, we can overlook the importance of posture. Remember the RA muscles connect from the bottom of the ribs to the top of the pelvis. Therefore, if we are focusing on strengthening these muscles whilst sticking out our ribs and having incorrect pelvic alignment you are never dealing with the source of the issue.
When we remember also that nothing works in isolation we look at the importance of the pelvic floor. For many women (if not all!) postnatally this is an area of weakness. When you perform a sit-up you are increasing the pressure in your abdominal area, with the pelvic floor below. If you are putting increased pressure onto a weakened pelvic floor it is not going to be able to support your pelvic organs; resulting in stress incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse both of which are becoming increasingly common in postnatal women who try to do too much postnatally rather than allowing their bodies time to heal.
This is why within my postnatal yoga courses we start slowly and work in small groups. We learn gentle techniques to work deeply from the inside out with the TA, pelvic floor and lower back muscles to heal your body. We look at posture and how this can help or hinder the healing process.
Vikki is a pre and postnatal yoga specialist teaching group classes and 1-2-1s in Essex and retreats worldwide. She has trained with both Francoise Freedman of Birthlight and Uma Dunsmore-Tuli, both leaders in the field of yoga for women’s health.
It’s no secret, weaning can be a messy old business....
The mess will come at some stage, either at the beginning if you are going baby-led or bit further down the line when your baby starts to self-feed. And the research actually suggest that babies and toddlers who are allowed to get messy are less ‘fussy’ than children whose parents try to stop them playing with food.
So with this is mind we asked Gemma aka The Organised Mum, founder of The Organised Mum Method to give us her top tips on mitigating the mess when weaning. After all if anyone knows how to stay on top and manage the cleaning, it’s Gemma! If you don’t already follow her on Instagram, do it! Her stories are hilarious, and she will help get you on track with housework!
Weaning v. Cleaning by Gemma Bray (www.theorganisedmum.blog)
I LOVED weaning my babies. I love cooking, so it was a no brainer for me. I would batch cook most Sundays, it was superbly satisfying.
BUT … and this is a rather large fly in the ointment, weaning can be messy. Actually, weaning IS messy there is no getting away from it. But there are a few things you can do for damage limitation.
Here are my top tips for keeping the mess as minimal as possible when weaning!
I have three boys and when I weaned for the first time we bought the biggest, flashiest all singing, all dancing high chair we could find. This bad boy looked like the cockpit from The Starship Enterprise. It reclined into lots of positions, had a couple of removable trays and looked absolutely lovely and shiny in the shop. A couple of uses later it was a different story. There was lots of stuff down the crevices and all the bells and whistles were a nightmare to clean. Spag Bol stained cream straps are never a good look! So the second and third weaning experiences were different. I went out and bought a wooden high chair that was about £30 that you could HOSE DOWN in the garden. You know the type you see in restaurants? These rock! Make sure you have the right armour! So you already know that will need a bib … this is weaning 101 but it is a good idea to get a bib that covers sleeves too! I really like the water proof ones that tie at the back. A bit like a painting apron. Serious mess prevention!If you can, try and save the really messy stuff for just before bath time. That way you can go straight from the high chair to the bath and nothing gets in a mess in between! And if it is warm enough feed in just a nappy (your baby not you … that would just be weird!) and then you can just whip their nappy off and put them straight in the bath. From very early on at the end of mealtimes, I would offer a clean damp flannel and encourage the boys to do their best efforts to wash their hands and face. This gets them in the habit and also keeps them amused while you put everything away! If you are lucky they might even clean themselves up a bit!
And finally …. a dog helps! Eddie loved the weaning phase, he was always on hand to help clean up!
Don’t forget to take at look at the Happy Tums Shop where you can find plenty of products road tested by us and designed to make clean-up that little bit easier!
This is the second part of my series of blog posts documenting our journey with Jesse's food allergy diagnosis. it was written just after our first appointment with the team at The Evelina Children’s Hospital at St Thomas’ in London. To read part 1 click here
These words were something I wrote down on one particularly bad day before we had got everything under control. I wanted to share as I think it's also important to mention how these issues can make a mother feel (especially one who is breast feeding) and how the improvement isn't always linear - there can still be good and bad days for lots of reasons....
"I’ve watched Jesse today, clearly in pain, writhing around in his cot trying to sleep but being constantly awoken by the trapped wind, which from time to time erupts as loudly as an adult, giving temporary relief. His poor little face has barely cracked a smile all day and my arms were his only source of comfort. It’s been horrid. Horrid to see him like that, horrid knowing that it was something that came from me and horrid because I know this journey is far from over. And as a lover of all food, selfishly I can’t help but feel robbed. I kissed goodbye to dessert back in May. I am meant to be out for dinner with friends on Thursday but I’m not sure if I can face another high street menu with practically nothing on it that fits our allergy free requirements."
So for the past 4 months (it feels like so much longer!) both Jesse and I have been avoiding all dairy, eggs, soya and coconut (the coconut was in response to 3 episodes of projectile, exorcist like vomit within a few hours of him eating it!). I’m pleased to say that the improvement in his eczema and gastro symptoms has been immense. We can’t quite clear the eczema from his ankles and backs of his legs (classic trigger points) but his face is crystal clear and his hair has sprouted. He has also become much more settled at night, increasing the length of time he goes between wake ups (yay!). Some of this is to do with normal baby development but I can see (and hear) how much more comfortable he is which has to help. He is also pooing practically every day – as opposed to the once a week he once was. I’ve had one attempt to introduce dairy via my breast milk but that ended with clear abdominal discomfort for Jesse. And then a similar reaction when I tried something with baked egg whilst on holiday. So we have kept with the exclusion.
Getting back into the NHS system was tricky as none of our local hospitals had any appointments but then we requested a London hospital - The Evelina Children's Hospital at St Thomas' and we were able to book an appointment a month or so later! And that’s where we have been today – 27th September 2017. Jesse had a repeat of the skin prick testing that he had before but with a few others added, including some tree nuts, cat dander and coconut. I’m really happy to report that he has outgrown is IgE allergy to egg but that the Doctor thinks given his symptoms upon my reintroduction that he still has a non-IgE reaction to dairy (and soya is off the menu given its general association with gastro symptoms in children). Unfortunately, we also found that he has a IgE allergy to cashews, and as a result of this, quite probably pistachios too. So, you win some, you lose some. But another plus sign is that children are most likely to outgrow allergies to egg and dairy and the earlier they are introduced (slowly, in small amounts, baked) the more likely they are to do this. So, we now have a little plan in place whereby we start VERY slowly via breast milk. We’ve chosen to give the coconut a go first as this is the least likely to be causing a reaction now. Then we’ll move to milk and then finally egg. This is a slow process and how quickly we can move on will really depend on how he reacts at each stage. But for those of you with any knowledge of the milk ladder, we can’t go further than stage 4. And on the egg challenge the hope is we complete stage 1 in approx. 3 months.
Our next follow up is a telephone appointment with the Dietician in December.
Please do share your story and thoughts. If you want to join one of our Weaning in a Nutshell Workshops then please follow this link.
It’s Friday night and we’ve survived the first week of full time education. Wow, what a week. I had zero understanding of what it would actually feel like to let her walk through those school gates for the day. My emotions this week have caught me off-guard and I can still feel the tears welling up as I write this. Not everyone feels this way, after all we’re all different and we’ve all had different journeys to get to this point. And if you’re reading this and didn’t get all the feels then that’s fine too!
Amabel has been at preschool a couple of days a week for the past two years but I’ve been the primary care giver during that time, with my Mum looking after her (and then Jesse too) on a Wednesday so I can run workshops and do some uninterrupted work. So this week is the longest I’ve been apart from her – EVER – albeit with her coming home at 3.15 p.m. each day. For others this moment might come on the first day of nursery or with the childminder, especially if you’ve gone back to work full time. But even then I think a lot of the ‘first day’ emotions are linked to the prospect of your child growing up rather than just the change in lifestyle/routine.
The one thing that has made this week a bit more bearable and having our food sorted. I have managed a fresh cooked dinner each night by 4.30 p.m. with a bit of clever ‘left over’ cooking, using my slow cooker and choosing some quick, simple but wholesome recipes. And of course I’ve tried to pick Amabel’s favourites to bring some of that comfort that we all know food can bring. It’s also made me feel better about her less than optimum lunch choices at school (that’s even if what she’s telling me is right!). Next week I think the communication book is going to provide a little teacher guidance for lunchtimes – once I’ve discussed it with Amabel of course (negotiation is key here!)
Being organised has meant that no one has been waiting around for dinner and we’ve had it a little earlier to allow for slightly earlier bedtimes. It also means it’s been one less thing for me to be thinking about when I collect Amabel which means she’s had more of my attention – always good when they need that little more from you. We’ve also managed the park after school and some games, just to really make sure we’re all connecting and working off any stress hormones.
This is what our meal planner looked like this week:
Sunday – Roast Leg of Lamb (3kg) with all the trimmings
Monday – Slow Cooker Lamb and Beef Bolognaise
Tuesday – leftover Lamb & Potato Puff Pie with Veggies
Wednesday – Black Bean Chilli & Rice
Thursday – Tuna Steak Stir-fry
Friday – Pumpkin & Chickpea Curry
This approach would work for many different situations. If you’re doing some KIT days at work, if you’re returning to work after maternity leave. And even if you don’t have to think about dinners for your baby (if they are fed at their childcare setting for example) it can ensure that you and your partner are eating well. But even if your child eats at nursery they might still need a wholesome snack before bed if dinner is really early – so a little bit of planning can help there too.
So this week I’m revelling in my smugness at being organised with the food – even if everything else feels a little like an enormous mountain to climb!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones!