Parenting // Twelve months of feeding

You might remember that I have already talked about my breastfeeding journey over here. But I wanted this post to focus less on the emotional side of feeding and more around what we have done practically over the last twelve months when it comes to getting milk in our little one.

From day one we logged all his feeds, nappies etc onto an app which we continued to use up until he was around 14/15 weeks. About six weeks in we also logged sleeps and expressing info on it. Although we fortunately never needed to use this info for medical purposes, we found it so useful in helping to understand what he might need, what patterns were emerging and when his last poo was!
So from day one it was just boob. Around day four or five my milk came in and the feeds increased. Wilf always fed for a long time, rarely feeding for less than twenty minutes and often longer, sometimes it was over an hour. 

At five weeks we introduced expressed milk but I could only express between 20-60ml, a few times a week. It helped to give me a bit of rest time and was also lovely for Dunc to be involved in the feeding. But as I could only express small amounts it was never really enough. I remember once expressing around 120ml and being so proud of myself, then pretty frustrated that Wilf refused to drink even half of this bottle – the only time he had not wanted more!

At eight weeks we started to fall into a lose pattern of feeding upon waking as we didn’t want Wilf to become reliant upon feeding to get to sleep. 

At 16 weeks we introduced a proper bedtime routine which was rounded off with a 45 minute boob feed. This was then followed up with a formula dream feed at around 10/11pm. At first this was six ounces but after Wilf cried in such distress one night, Dunc gave him another six ounce bottle which he guzzled. This led us to give him 12 oz every dream feed. I checked with the health visitor and she assured me that as he was a breastfed baby he wouldn’t be able to over feed so he obviously needed a big feed.

Over the weeks and months, Wilf’s day feeds gradually reduced down to more of a structure and by the time Wilf reached six months we also introduced formula feeds during the day. He would have boob when he woke, formula after his morning sleep, boob after midday nap, formula after his afternoon nap, boob at bedtime, formula at dream feed (now back to one bottle) and boob overnight. Formula was always 6oz and he rarely left any.

On occassion he may want another boob feed during the day but as we were starting to introduce food, he rarely wanted more. I was also careful to offer milk before food to ensure he was filling up on the right stuff.

It was also around six months that he started to wake just once during the night. When he started sleeping through until 4am-ish I knew that he could sleep through to that time without needing a feed. So if he woke earlier, say between 2-3am, I would settle him back down and leave him. It only took a couple of weeks of this happening (not even every night), before he properly adjusted to not getting fed early in the night. I stuck to my guns pretty much every night which helped and soon he rarely woke before 4am. He would then feed for 30 minutes on each side (I introduced feeding on both sides at every single feed upon NHS advice at five months) and sleep for an hour or two more until his morning feed.

At around seven to eight months his feeds reduced even further. He had now swapped his midday nap and boob feed with lunch and was down to just boob feeding in the morning, at bedtime and overnight along with his two 6oz bottles mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

By eight months we had decided to start the road to coming off the boob altogether. We started this by first swapping his bedtime boob feed for formula (8oz to keep him fuller for longer) and finishing the dream feed. Dunc was quite upset at this ending as it was his bonding time with Wilf and had done it pretty much every single night since 16 weeks (I could count on one hand the number of dream feeds I had done).

This worked well and he seemed to sleep through till 5am and was then adamant that it was morning time. After a couple of weeks of early starts, out of nowhere he started sleeping right through till 7ish (sometimes 8ish, sometimes 6ish!). We then swapped his morning boob feed for another 8oz bottle and that was it. Breastfeeding was finished at eight and a half months. 

We soon dropped his mid-morning bottle as his botttle upon waking, followed by breakfast an hour later was enough to keep him going till food at lunchtime and his afternoon bottle.

Wilf has so far continued to sleep through at night time and now has just his bottle upon waking and his bedtime bottle (which recently went down to 7oz) after dropping his afternoon bottle at around 10 and a half months.

With Wilf turning one next week, we will start to think about switching up the formula for whole milk. We have just introduced vitamin supplements which we put into his bedtime bottle to help him get all the goodness he needs now that his milk consumption is so reduced.

Another thing to note is that we stopped steralising his bottles at around eight months. It was just the most annoying thing and we felt that as they were going through the dishwasher anyway, and as he was now putting anything he could lay his hands on, into his mouth, steralising just didn’t seem as important. But of course you should always only do what you’re comfortable with.

I know this probably isn’t of interest to most, especially as all babies are different, but I really wanted to remember what we did and I know I will look back on this.

I would love to hear of any more feeding experiences so do post links to any in the comments below!

T

An update // April has sprung

After a very slow March, April is finally here, hopefully with sunnier skies, warmer days, plenty of Wilf chatter and all the Spring flowers.

So what does this month have in store for us? Well, we have a few busy weekends full of catching up with friends and family and even a wedding on Easter weekend (poor timing people, come on). The wedding is a few hours drive away in Surrey and as Wilf wasn’t invited we will be having our first whole night away from him. Aaaahhh. Not quite sure how I feel about it to be honest.

Speaking of Wilf, April sees him turn eleven months old, his last milestone before turning one! How is that even possible? We need to start planning his birthday party pronto.

Said party will be held in our garden which means we need to crack on with tidying up all the mess left over from the wall being sorted (hurrah), painting the wall, buying and erecting a shed, painting the shed and sowing grass seed as I am fed up of looking at ugly ‘borders’ we inherited that we can’t really afford to fill with lots of pretty plants. Lots to do so we need to get a move on!

The garden needs some attention this month

Of course Easter has rolled around again, I feel the need to do some Easter baking, mostly to blame for this is Jane’s patisserie as she just keeps cranking out loads of amazing looking bakes that I NEED to recreate. I also need to eat some mini eggs stat as no Easter chocolate has passed my lips so far this year. I wish we were having another Easter gathering as I loved last years.

Last years Easter goodies
I also need to renew my passport and get a new one for Wilf as we need to get flights booked for another wedding, this time abroad, later this year (though not far away now).

And I feel a major spring clean coming on, I had a big clear out a few weeks back and need to get some stuff on Ebay and get a load of stuff off to the charity shop. It always feels so good to de-clutter and tidy. I feel a lot more ruthless about my ‘stuff’ since having Wilf.

I do need to buy some Spring/Summer clothes though. After being pregnant last year I haven’t really got much that suits me anymore/fits me/has aged well so an Asos spree might be on the horizon.

So a busy and expensive month awaits us then! Oh joy!!

T

Digital life // Pinterest inspo

I used to bloody love Pintetest but I haven’t done much scrolling for a while. I feel like my feed is full of the same old chuff that I’ve seen for ages, or, loads and loads of pins dinstantly linked to one curveball that I once pinned.

I used to find people from my notifications but since they merged it all I find it hard to do that now.

I really need some new accounts to follow on there and would love to know your accounts and even anyone that you follow.

Please leave your usernames in the comments below and I will hit you up. I would also love to know if anyone else is also experiencing this Pinterest dip (sideways smile emoji).

T

Baking // TiffinΒ 

This is just the best stuff. It is ridicously easy to make, just mix some bits together, cover in chocolate and pop in the fridge. Boom!

You Will Need:

1 tin lined with greaseproof paper. Recipe calls for 8″x 10″tin, however I just use my brownie tray which is more rectangular

340g Crushed Digestive Biscuits
170g Stork
3 Dessert Spoon Cocoa Powder
100g Chopped Glace Cherries 
85g Raisins
140g Golden Syrup
250-300g Melted Chocolate (plain is best, but milk chocolate or a mixture of the two works well)
Method:

Mix the biscuits, stork, cocoa powder, cherries, raisins and golden syrup together in a large mixing bowl. Ensure it is well mixed and that there are no lumps of stork.

Next, press it into your tin until it is all evenly pressed in and as flat as you can get it.

Then pour your melted chocolate over the top (the amount will depend on the size of the tin that you use) and pop it into the fridge to set.

I would leave to set over night but you can leave it for a few hours until it is firm. Once ready, lift it out of the tin (using the edges of the greaseproof paper) and cut into small squares (around 1″across).

Tiffin is so easy to make and I have lost count of the number of people who have loved these over the years. 

It is great to throw together if you need a sweat treat for friends and don’t have the time or the ingrdients for baking.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to tag me, @millertracey on insta and @girlabouthome on twitter.

T

An Update // Farewell 2016

What a year. The best of my life. Here are some highlights…

It’s a boy! Wilf arrives

My pregnancy was a bit of a rollercoaster. Late in 2015 we were told that a screening result early on in the pregnancy meant our baby could have problems potentially leading to us not being able to continue with the pregnancy. Then came eight of the longest weeks of our lives until our 20 week scan in which everything looked perfect. Although we still had to have a specialised ultrasound and underwent extra monitoring (I had eight ultrasounds during my pregnancy), we felt more positive with each one and from starting the year at such a low place, it felt incredible to be able to finally enjoy the pregnancy and start purchasing baby related items. 

Then in May our perfect little man arrived. Life has never been better. Yes it is hard and some days are beyond tough but it really is the most incredible feeling. To be a mum, to love your child, I don’t think there is anything like it. We are so incredibly lucky and our troubles early on only made us realise that more.

The mum tribe ! Making new friends

Because of Wilf I have met some of the most incredible ladies who I am proud to call some of my closest friends. Our bond is so strong and in many ways I feel closer to them than school friends of almost 20 years. They have made the minefield of parenting 100 times easier and meeting up each week has been an absoloute blast. What has made it so good is that it’s also about the dads. They all know each other and we meet for evening games nights (with sleeping babies in tow), days out and trips away. I love that there is no bullshit. We do what we say we wanna do, we don’t just promise to plan a meet up, it always happens. Love these ladies.

Regular posting – Finding my blogging gear

After a slow start I began to reguarly post on the blog and I love it. I have had more views than I could have imagined and have received some lovely comments. This is like a little diary for me and I love the interaction with you on top of that. I hope that you find my posts interesting and can bear with some questionable camera skills.

Career break – that maternity leave life
Not working has been so good for me. After eight years at the same company and three in the same role, I needed a break (well from the tedious routine of work, parenting is definitly not a break). Although I am still not looking forward to returning I have made the most of my days and weeks. Shame it has all flown by so quickly. I never thought by this point I would still be enjoying home life, by eight months I thought I would be craving work but not so much…

Home updates – Sorting out the mill

We got the kitchen tiled and painted. Put up shelves, hooks and light fittings around the house. We carpeted and furnished the nursery, painted our bedroom and put finishing touches to most places and it feels like our little haven. I still have to pinch myself that we actually own our gorgeous mill, and although it isn’t our forever home, it will always be so, so special to us.

Hitting a milestone – The big 3-0

This year I turned 30 and it was actually fine. I had a quiet day with my little family and a party with friends a few days before which was so much fun. I don’t really feel 30, I guess it will take a year or two to sink in that I have reached this decade of my life. Okay so I may not have an amazing career, be married or still be any good at make up but there are so many positives in my life and I feel like I need to embrace life more. I spent my early twenties living a very dull, mundane and isolated life with a bi-polar ex who shut us away from the world. It doesn’t feel like my life when I look back and I can’t believe I wasted so much of those years doing bugger all. I am determined not to let my thirties slip by. I want Wilf to be proud of his mumma.

This last year has had so many highs for us; all of Wilf’s firsts, two holidays and several days out, welcoming a new neice, our five year anniversary, a year of being in our home, and spending more time with friends and family. I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store for us and I hope that you will join me for the ride.

T

Baking // Chelsea Bun Christmas Tree

My mum friends and I had a little Christmas get-together on Friday for baby secret santa, a chance to wear Christmas jumpers and a catch up between us all before next year!
I had to make something festive and dug out a recipe from 2014 for this festive take on chelsea buns. I knew some of you would love the recipe as it’s so easy, so here goes…

You will need:

1 baking tray lined with greaseproof paper

5oog strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
15g butter
7g yeast
250ml milk 
2 eggs
25g melted butter
50g golden caster sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
75g raisins
75g dried cranberries
50g chopped mixed peel

Method:

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and butter until it forms a crumb like consistency, then stir in the yeast.

Warm your milk until it is hot to touch, add this to your mixture with the eggs and beat until it forms a soft dough.

Turn it out onto a floured surface and kneed for 10 minutes. Roll your dough out into a rectangle just bigger than a sheet of A4 paper.

Sprinkle this with your sugar, cinnamon, fruit and mixed peel then roll into a log and cut into 2cm wide slices. I have found I get roughly 12 slices but however many you have you need to make the shape of a Christmas tree (my photos show three buns for the trunk but the last time I made this it was just one).

Once you have formed your tree on your baking tray, cover with clingfilm and pop somewherw warm until it has doubled in size. I left mine for over an hour in the airing cupboard.

Pre-heat your oven to 190Β°c/170Β°c fan and brush the melted butter over the tree before popping in the oven. Leave it to bake for 30 minutes by which time it will be golden in colour. Be careful not to overbake or they will turn out dry.

Once out of the oven you can sprinkle with a little extra sugar before serving up. They are best served fresh out the oven. These were still warm when I headed off to my friends house and seemed to go down very well.

So there you go. Please let me know if you make these by tagging me on insta @millertracey or twitter @girlabouthome I can’t wait to see your versions!

T

Creating // Making gifts

Every year I make a hamper of homemade goodies for our families at Christmas containing chutneys, sloe gin, sweet treats and the like. Last year I even potted up some tulip bulbs. This year we are still going down the hamper route and I thought I would share my plans with you. 

The addition this year is that I also want to craft some gifts. However time is my enemy this Christmas, it’s not that easy to get much done whilst looking after Wilf so we will have to see how things go…

Snaps of previous homemade gifts:

So my planned hamper contents this year are:

  • Chocolate coins or bark
  • Boxing day chutney (the hit of 2015 is making a comeback)
  • Clementine curd
  • Marinated feta
  • Spiced olived
  • Marinated peppers
  • Gingerbread truffles

    Over the last few nights I’ve made the curd and chutney and a test run of the truffles. All is going well. I’m hoping to get the rest done this weekend and crack on with some crafting too. I will probably spend my evenings from now up until Christmas, crafting. 

    Craft wise I am sewing some patterns in hoops, weaving some wall hangings and looking at personalising some frames. I would love to do more but as usual, I have not really started early enough!
     I would love to hear from you guys with any gifts that you make!

    T