What I have learned about : BLW [Part 2]

If you want to read more about our experiences with weaning, Part 1 is here. :)

We didn’t need much for BLW but I did buy a few things:

Lassig bib: Becky recommended these as Bea is small (Ikea do some but they would have been massive on her!) and they are thin so no bulky fabric to restrict her moving her arms to pick food up. They are still too big, particularly round the neck so we layer them with a feeding bib underneath and hope not too much goes down her neckline!
Edit: I should say, we have 3 of these and the other great thing about them is that I throw them in the sink after using, give them a swish about to remove the food and wring out. They’re dry in 5 mins flat! Then I start a clean one every few meals.

MAM Dipper Set (Green). Weaning spoons are flatter as babies can’t shape their mouths yet to take food off a spoon, but when I looked for some they’re all really long – I assume to reach further when you’re feeding them, but that seemed really counterintuitive if I wanted her to feed herself – imagine trying to fed yourself with cutlery longer than your forearm?! These were chubby for little hands and importantly, the right size.

Plastic bowls – we put Bea’s food straight on her tray but if I made weetabix or porridge I like having a small bowl for her food, so we’re not using all of ours u

Lock & Lock Food Storage Set
– for leak proof food storage and taking out with us.

Snacks: Organix corn snacks, Rice cakes and Heinz baby Biscotti! I didn’t even think about shop bought baby food as a result of doing baby led weaning, but discovered these through friends. They’re great for a snack if you’re out or to keep Bea busy while food is cooling or being made. The only downside is that they look like Wotsits or Monster Munch which is a bit embarrassing! ;)

Mamas & Papas Baby Snug . We’re still using this, sat on the kitchen island as it’s virtually impossible to find a high chair that is the right height for a kitchen worktop (let me know if you have!) We bought the ikea high chair too as a handy spare for friends visiting, but haven’t used it.

We also have a Doidy Cup that Bea isn’t getting on with that well and a Tommee Tippee First Cup.

So, what have we learned…

Timing is everything
It took me a little while to realise that feeding Bea solids was a matter of timing, too soon after a milk feed and she wasn’t interested, too long and she was starving, for milk. The same applies to naps, if she’s tired she just throws the food around, so I try to give her her milk, then wait about 30-60 minutes before trying food, which give me a big enough window before her next nap.

Meal times take ages. We can easily sit watching Bea eat for 45 minutes at most meal times. That plus the cleaning up means it’s a big commitment. But it’s usually hilarious too. :)

Just because she doesn’t eat something on one occasion, doesn’t mean she won’t wolf it down on another. This has happened with weetabix, porridge, yogurt and a spinach and ricotta base that I made into fritters once and she rejected twice on the trot. Later she devoured some lasagna made with the same filling and she has since eaten the fritters too.

Texture is key. Bea loves carrots and I guess I could let her suck on steamed ones but as I need her to be eating reasonably before my return to work I over do them a little so she can eat them. The same goes for making sure fruit is very ripe, pasta better done than al-dente, etc etc. For this reason we’ve not had much success with rice yet, even risotto.

As for downsides, well, we’ve had our first choking incident which was very brief fortunately and dealt with by a couple of swift blows to her back, but scary in hindsight. It did make me question my commitment to the BLW cause, but it was actually a piece of softish melon she had bitten off herself that was the offending food, so if it can happen with that, I’m not sure what lengths we’d have to go to to protect her completely.

It’s also not as easy as the hype would have you believe… Bea can’t eat everything we eat as a lot of our food has hidden salt – I’m not confessing to a highly processed diet here, but you do have to read labels like a demon as things like bread, cream cheese, pesto, tinned tomatoes etc all often have higher salt than you should be giving to a baby. I make things easy by making more than we need of things like pasta and then varying the sauce – a bit of tomato one day, melted cream cheese another, and pesto on another day, for example. For things like the fritters or spinach and ricotta lasagna, I freeze portions. And because we often eat our evening meal later than Bea, I often give her leftovers from what we had for dinner, for lunch or dinner the next day. I do make her special food sometimes, just as you would with purees, but mainly because it’s natural to want the best for her and I enjoy making new things for her to try, or for example in the case of the spinach fritters, I was keen to get some iron rich foods into her.

Lastly, it’s such an all-comsuming process. Before weaning we were in a good routine, still breast feeding on demand and didn’t have to worry about schedules or fitting in meals or taking food with us anywhere. At first it felt quite restricting, preparing meals, thinking about feeding her, being prepared to do so with bibs and the like, and the time it took up. But I don’t know how differently I’d feel if it was purees, at the end of the day she has to eat and we’ve just adjusted, as you do!

The whole process has been really fun though. I love seeing her try new foods and flavours and it’s fantastic seeing how much she enjoys her food. It has also been amazing, and I can’t emphasis this enough,) seeing how much it has improved her motor skills. She now (at 7 months) passes food from hand to hand, repositions it in her hand to get a better grip and is learning how hard to grip things so they don’t get squashed in her palm or squeezed out if they’re slippery. She will use two hands to keep something in her mouth and is starting to develop her pincer grip. Her oral dexterity is better too, she can now chew things and pass food around her mouth more, sucking flesh off fruit and then dispatching the skin from her mouth with lightening efficiency! So, it was a great choice for us.

I hope you found this useful if you’re around the weaning stage like us or coming up to it. As before, just shout if you have any questions and please do share your experiences and tips in the comments too!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:

How to Wear: February

Hello Readers!

Well February has been a mixed bag hasn’t it? We’ve veered from really beautiful, Spring-like weather mid-month to snow (where we live anyway) last weekend. It’s also been an extremely busy month for me work-wise and coupled with being almost 7 months pregnant and knowing we have a house that has no roof, I feel pretty exhausted to be honest.

I did enjoy a few precious days away with Richard and Calum just before Valentine’s Weekend. We decided to head to the New Forest (barely an hour and a half from us but it felt like far enough away for a nice break) and spent a few nights at The Pig.

Honestly, we love these hotels having now stayed at three of the four. I think for me it’s all in the marketing (“a restaurant with rooms”). They are so low key. Very little to do except wander round the kitchen gardens and check out the animals; perhaps have a little treatment in the Potting Shed; sit in one of the comfy public rooms and enjoy a cocktail whilst you play “Pass the Pigs” (does that remind anyone else of their childhood (the game not the cocktails!) or is that just me?) or just read, and really, chill out. Anyone who knows the properties will know the food is exceptional too and a fantastic added bonus.

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One of the Comfy Lounges at The Pig, Brockenhurst

A delicious array of home-infused Chase Vodka’s and of course, homemade Sloe-Gin. Must visit again when alcohol is on the menu ;)

What we loved this time was that they treated Calum like a king. The family room we had was wonderful, and the little treats that he was given throughout the stay were priceless.

Anyway, I digress a bit, as this is supposed to be a Style Column, but what we did this month dictated largely what I’ve been wearing.

Work-wise, it’s been all about pointy flats and dresses. Most of the dresses are non-maternity, either they just fit (thanks goodness for the shift shape that’s in this S/S) or they are a size larger than I usually take, and the flats are some I have and also supplemented by a new acquisition in these. I also made a cheeky purchase from my What to Buy Feb list – the TopShop stripe dress. This does come in Maternity too, but I decided against that and went for the normal one and it’s fine.

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Casually, it’s been all about sneaker- flats, jeans and oversized jumpers. Perfect for this transition weather. I do love the Zara boots above I picked for a steal in NYC. They are such a beautiful colour IMO ;)

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The other thing I’ve rediscovered is my love of a hat. There are certain styles I can’t wear (I struggle with a Trilby) but wearing a hat is something I’ve always loved and winter is the perfect time to try some of the lovely felt styles out there. This TopShop one has been a favourite over the last couple of weeks. You also can’t go wrong with a bobble hat. Mine (from Bobbl) is great as it’s a nice mix of Black and Navy which goes with a lot of my wardrobe.

So, how have you worn February? Did you pick up anything in the What to Buy list from earlier this month?

See you back here in a couple of weeks!

Erin xx

What I have learned about: BLW [Part 1]

As the title suggests, we decided to go for baby led weaning (BLW) with Bea. I had so much to share about this particular topic that I’ve split it into 2 posts. Today is mainly our experience, and on Thursday I’ll be back with Part 2, sharing our essentials for BLW and tips. (And we have Erin’s fashion fix tomorrow if you’re not interested in weaning!)

My main concern with BLW was the emphasis that ‘food is fun before they’re one’ and reliance on continued milk feeds, while they (very) slowly increase their solid intake. At the time of weaning, I was going back to work in less than 2 months and was still feeding 5-6 or more times per day plus a dream feed. I decided I’d give it a month and if she still wasn’t taking much in, reconsider our options then.

Why did I go for BLW in the end? It just made sense to me. I read the book, and developmentally, it all made sense; why feed a baby purees when they can feed themselves? I felt I was relaxed enough to accept if she didn’t eat much because I was used to trusting her intake whilst breast feeding and I knew she was able to feed herself as EVERYTHING was already going straight into her mouth. She wasn’t quite sitting up when we started – as in, sitting unsupported in the middle of the floor, but was perfectly upright in her baby snug. It also appealed to my style of parenting. Within sensible limits of her having some structure, I prefer her fitting in with us. We eat out a lot (still) and it appealed to the lazy part of me, that I could just fed her the kinds of things we eat, ad hoc.

We started weaning 5 days before she was 6 months old. I had been determined to wait until 6 months exactly, despite the grandparents regular chimes of ‘she’s so ready for food!’ but when I did a bit of reading prior to starting, there is conflicting evidence about the benefits of postponing solids until 6 months (increased gut maturity, reduced risk of allergies…) against possible risks (one recent study found a 4 fold increased risk of diabetes if children were weaned before 4 months or after 6 months.) In the end it was simply convenient to start at the weekend so Pete could participate too.

In the very beginning my focus was on exposing her to as many tastes as possible. I didn’t restrict her to popular first tastes to babies (like sweet vegetables) and simply chose things that were convenient for her to eat – things that were naturally or could be made, stick shaped. One of the key ideas behind BLW is that babies feed themselves, which I found very limiting (babies of 6 months usually can only grasp stick shaped things and it takes weeks and months for them to develop the motor skills to pick things up with their fingers or grasp handfuls and release them into their mouth,) so we quickly introduced a weaning spoon which we preloaded and held out for her to take and put into her mouth herself. She was successful right from the beginning (as I knew she would be because of her tendency to put anything and everything straight into her mouth,) and that made things like weetabix, porridge and yogurt easy enough and moderately less messy.

Ah yes, the mess. I was warned BLW would be messy, so I was prepared for it and to be honest, I don’t think it has been that bad. We bought sleeved bibs (see below) and a piece of oilcloth tablecloth to cover our marble worktops. Apart from on herself, the majority of the mess is from dropping her spoon at the side of her seat or onto the floor and whatever is on it splashing off. I tend to eat with her (at least sitting with her,) so regularly spoon catch and keep a cloth handy to wipe up these spills as we go (because dried on weetabix is like cement, be warned!)

If you don’t have a baby or want to hear about nappies, you might want to skip this paragraph. ;) Because I wanted to give Bea every opportunity to progress with weaning, we very quickly worked up to 3 meals a day, even if they were small. It took about a week before we started to see bits of food in Bea’s nappy (undigested) then after 2 weeks her nappies changed completely, confirming that she was taking a decent amount of food in. We are a month on now and she has dropped down to 4 milk feeds; One on waking, one around lunch after her morning nap, one after her afternoon nap, and one before bed.

So readers, I’d love to hear if you have anything to add here or if you have any questions for me. I’ll do my best to answer them. In the mean time, can anyone suggest a worktop height high chair that isn’t ridiculously expensive?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:

Triple Temptation: Spring backpacks


John Lewis Backpack // Boden backpack // Orla Kiely Backpack

I’ll be honest, when backpacks came into fashion again a couple of seasons ago, I thought it was a pretty unpalatable trend. However, as these things often do, the trend has grown on me and now it happens to fit in with my lifestyle brilliantly. I more often wear Bea in a woven wrap when I’m going on our errands rather than use the pram so a backpack would be perfect, and it suits my more casual sporty style currently. I’m thinking a backpack would be the perfect upgrade from a changing bag when the time comes.

Can I tempt you with one of these readers, or have you seen a better one?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Girl About Town: Grimm Tales


Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales: An immersive fairytale

Last year I went to see The Drowned Man and I found a new love for “interactive”, “immersive” theatre, so I’ve been on the look out for other similar experiences since. When the email about Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales popped in to my inbox I snapped up some tickets.

Adapted and directed by Philip Pullman, he of His Dark Materials genius, coupled with my love of fairy tales in their original (i.e. not Disney-fied) form, my interest was piqued.

The teaser asks: “do you dare experience these infamous fairy tales, no longer bound to their pages but trailing your footsteps, breathing softly down your neck and unravelling in wonder before your eyes”… yes I did dare. But I did take my mum with me in case I got scared.

It wasn’t as creepy or as scary as I had hoped, but I suppose they are stories intended for children. They chose some of the lesser-known tales from the Brothers Grimm, which I think were some of the less grim tales (you see what I did there?), but I understand we can’t have the characters chopping off their toes to fit in to shoes or eyes being pecked by birds, that would be a very, erm, different experience, and not one I’d be reviewing here!

I did love the way that the small cast of actors brought some life and edge to characters we generally only see through Disney-tinted glassed these days. I think what impressed me the most, however, were the gorgeously freaky sets. Walls covered in aging maps, annotated with snippets of information about well known fairy tale locations (Grandma’s house, the wishing well…) and a red string trail pinned between them. Rooms filled with spinning wheels piled on top of each other, some of them still spinning. A bar area crammed with crates of shiny, juicy, enticing red apples. Corridors and staircases lined with pictures that dare you to look twice, and often you’d wish you didn’t…

It’s been extended to April, so you can grab tickets here

Victoria x

PS! Find Victoria over on her blog Sugar Plum Slipper or on twitter @VictoriaHale.

Must Have Monday…

Where do you think this beauty is from then? Bright spring shade, contrast print interior, stylish swing cut with vented back flap?


Coral cotton blend jacket

Boden perhaps?

What If I told you it was £19.99?

H&M.

Kids!

My friend Alka was wearing this H&M coat at the weekend and I couldn’t get enough of it. She’s a petite lady but was wearing a (kids) size 12-14. It also goes up to a 14+ (kids size) so I reckon you could easily fit into it up to an adult size 12ish, perhaps more. I hope those of you who are bigger don’t feel excluded – that’s not the intention at all, I just had to share it as it looked so good on!

Have you got any other adult worthy kids clothes tips? (Rachel mentioned last week that adult size 10-12 can fit Bodens teenage range, meaning quite a saving!)

Happy Monday readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Five on Friday…

Just a few spring buys I’ve spotted…

Petit Bateau Tres Chic tee £44
Perfect for a hint of spring but not so much you’ll look out of place now layering it for colder days.

Grey Chevron Rug, Urban Outfitters £69
Priced for style and something you wouldn’t be afraid of a baby playing on.

Tweedmill grey and neon blanket, Urban Outfitters £75
Warm, cosy and spring stylish!

Conran Salt and Pepper mill set, M&S £29.50
The stylish pair I was looking for at Christmas and failed to find.

Breathable Monkey toy TESCO £9.95
This is made from innovative mesh fabric which you can breath through, so I’ve started leaving it in the cot with Bea when she is napping for her to play with a bit before she drops off and it’s settling her really well!

Happy Weekend!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

6 months with Bea…

Bea @22 weeks Copyright FlorenceFinds.com

Last time I wrote about my time with Bea, we had had a very rough month but things were looking up. Month 6 was a month of two halves. The first half glorious and fun, the second slightly more trying! ;)


A fun family selfie taken on New Years day

After all the drama of having the lounge re-done before Christmas, I made a pact with myself – no more work on the house before my maternity leave finishes in March. I wanted to enjoy every last moment with Bea as I really felt I’d almost lost a month with her while the work was going on. As soon as Christmas was over I really started enjoying things, and after her bad run of nap trouble things seemed to settle. I accepted that in fact, Bea was getting the vast majority of her sleep overnight and didn’t need much in the day, and she settled into a 3 (short) naps a day routine. I was really sad in a way when 2015 dawned as 2014 had brought us so much joy. We were no longer in the year Bea was born in!

Her growing up is becoming so much fun though! Like everything, her first few laughs were few and far between but now I can make her to laugh, pulling funny faces and being silly – all the things I never thought I’d do.

At 25 weeks, Bea spent the whole week sucking in her bottom lip and making her lovely little mouth into a tight line, whilst making noises like her lips had been sellotaped shut – just another phase, but an amusing one! It was put to an end by her first proper cold which seems to have been the prompt for everything to go wrong in the sleep department too!

Bea @25 weeks Copyright FlorenceFinds.com

First we had a few nights of waking several times between bedtime around 7 and her dream feed at 10-11. Then we had a couple of nights of waking up in the early morning around 6ish, although fortunately going back to sleep. Then a week or so of waking in the night again, a couple of times each night. This latter pattern was caused by her cold and a cough which kept waking her up and it was pretty miserable watching her feeling so sorry for herself, not to mention exhausting. I know I shouldn’t complain but there doesn’t seem to be anything worse than having a baby who sleeps less than they were doing previously – I wondered how I ever managed when she was tiny! Once again, I’m none the wiser as to why it all happened, but it stopped as suddenly as it started.

Bea @26 weeks Copyright FlorenceFinds.com

The end of the month and her 25th week reached a peak with us starting weaning! We decided to go baby-led and started just before she was 6 months – it was the weekend and convenient for Pete to enjoy too. I’m going to write a full post about it soon, but it has been so much fun so far. :) She really does get more any more enjoyable every day!

How are those of you with babies all getting on then?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea

Triple Temptation: Breton basics


Boden // embellished stripe // woven back top

One of the things I learned by making my capsule wardrobe is that I never invest in basics. I’m always inclined to buy cheap versions and that’s if I buy them at all – I often buy all the statement pieces and am left high and dry when I need a simple pulled together item, like todays breton top. So this year I’m investing in a few quality basics and starting with the perfect breton tee. Of course Boden must be the king of the breton (or Petit Bateau?) so I’ve included their classic here. Perhaps you like a bit of glitter and sparkle? I think this jewelled version would cover the smart/casual bases for casual work to weekend wear. Then I got distracted and had to include my favourite: A plain breton front hides a denim blue woven back. 2 tops for the price of one and the easiest way to make sure your breton is never boring ;)

Have you seen any amazing examples of the breton tee I should know about?

Love,
Rebecca
xo