Bébé Gourmet - My Baby Recipe Book

BeBe GourmetRecently I reviewed Annabel Karmel's latest recipe book and it's certainly become one of our family favourites. Full of tasty and easy to adapt recipes, there's something to suit everyone's tastes in the family. So, I was excited to receive another baby recipe book to review recently, namely Bébé Gourmet - My Baby Recipe Book, by mother of two Jenny Carenco of Les Menus Bébé.

A stunning book to look at, it is full of tempting and very beautiful photos of delicious meals which aim to help parents raise adventurous eaters from the age of 4 months upwards!

I'm proud of the fact that none of my children have ever been particularly picky eaters, something I firmly believe breastfeeding has helped with, although that's not to say they don't have certain preferences. For example, my eldest daughter prefers plainer foods and also eats raw rather than cooked carrots whilst my son absolutely adores spicy foods. My second daughter isn't keen on mushrooms but will take them if chopped up very small. And Sophia, the toddler, well she'll eat anything and everything. Consequently, Bébé Gourmet looks like a good bet for us.

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Breastfeeding Mothers told to take the Banana Challenge!

Parents will be told not to "rush to mush" by switching their babies to solid food too early as part of a new Government drive to educate new mothers and fathers.

By James Kirkup

In a new campaign that risks “nanny state” accusations, ministers will also give new parents detailed suggestions on how long they should go on breastfeeding and what they should feed children to avoid them becoming fussy eaters in later life.

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The "How to" Carnival of Breastfeeding: How to Wean a Breastfed Toddler

 How to wean a breastfeeding toddler Welcome to the April Carnival of Breastfeeding. This month it's all about breastfeeding how to's so I had to have a good long think about what it was that I most wanted to learn how to do during the time I was a breastfeeding mother.

I decided I'd cover How to Wean a Breastfed Toddler as it was perhaps the one thing about breastfeeding that I dreaded and worried about having to do. Like many breastfeeding mums I worried about how I'd approach the whole situation. It wasn't something I wanted to be rushed into but rather something I wanted to do it at the right time for me and my children. Perhaps more importantly I was also keen to cause as little distress as possible for both myself and each of my children too. So here goes:

Tips for How to Wean a Breastfeeding Toddler

(adapted from an  article on my website, www.BreastfeedingMums.com)

Are you currently weaning a breastfeeding toddler?

For the few women who breastfeed their babies into toddlerhood it can be very difficult to make the decision about when to wean. Do you decide from the outset to breastfeed for a set number of months or years? Do you opt to let your child decide to self-wean? Or do you just run with it and see what happens?

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After 25 months of breastfeeding it looks like Jack has finally weaned. We've gone three days and nights now without any breastfeeding at all and although emotionally both of us have found it difficult, the worst seems to be over.

We've been gradually weaning for several months now, but in the end I just had to stop abruptly. Last week I felt so drained and physically exhausted that I made up my mind. My skin had broken out in spots, I was short-tempered with everyone and the lack of any rest was killing me. I realised that I was suffering health-wise and it simply wasn't fair on anyone in the family. Jack is a good, strong, healthy little boy now but his mummy was anything but strong and healthy.

After visiting my sister-in-law who has just had a new baby girl, I suddenly saw Jack as no longer a little baby. Yes he's still my little baby but I have two other children to care for too. I made up my mind that it was time to get started on some strong vitamin pills and to enjoy the time we all have together. And that was it. No more breastfeeds...

Jack has been remarkably good about it and although on several occasions he has got a bit upset and whispered, "Mama Juice" to me, I have just had to stick to my guns. Occasionally he tries to nuzzle his way towards a feed but I can't give in. I'm trying really hard to be strong about this decision and it just wouldn't be fair on either of us, not to mention confusing for him.

It's important, I feel, to only continue breastfeeding for as long as you are able to and for as long as both of you want to. I didn't particularly want to quit yet but to be honest I don't know if there's ever a perfect time; this was about as close as I could get to one.

So we've reached the end of this particular journey.

I wonder if it's something I'll ever experience again?

If not, I'm pleased that in one of the countries with the lowest incidences of breastfeeding in the world, Ireland, I've breastfed for so long. And I will do so again if we do add to our family - although that isn't really on the cards!!

Now, how do I get him to stay in his own bed at night? :)

Breastfeeding Mother?

I mentioned in a previous post that we'd just returned from a family holiday to Co Clare on the West Coast of Ireland. Well, here's a story I brought back with me that I thought may interest all you breastfeeding mothers!

On the second day of our holiday we were all feeling a little peckish after inhaling the fresh sea breeze and dallying along the shore for a short while. As we wandered aimlessly up the hill towards town, we decided to pop in for a quick (it's always quick when you have three children in tow!) bite to eat in a quirky little cafe we'd noticed on our way.

As we found some seats, another couple and their beautiful little baby sat behind us. Now Jack, our two year old, is going through a clean phase, which I'm sure won't last for long, and he was busily rubbing his hands together and repeating, "Wash hands, wash hands" as he tried to get the sand off them! Well as you can imagine this caught the attention of the other family and it wasn't long before we got chatting. We discovered that, like us, this family was also on a rather rainy holiday with their five month old daughter, a very alert and pretty little girl who was taking a great interest in her pram toy and who Jack was rather taken with!

After chatting briefly about where we came from and places to visit, our food was served.

As we proceeded to eat, out of the corner of my eye I noticed the baby next to us getting a little restless. "Hmm," I pondered, "I wonder if she's a breastfed baby..." but I refrained from asking as I didn't want to be nosey!

Funnily enough it wasn't just the baby's behaviour that made me think this but also the reaction of her parents. As the mum of three breastfed babies I've always noticed how they got restless the moment I even thought about eating! And as a breastfeeding mother whose babies often wanted fed in places where I didn't feel particularly comfortable about feeding, such as in a cramped and packed tourist cafe, I instinctively felt that perhaps I was right!

However, what happened next really gave the game away... the baby's parents began speaking to one another in rather urgent hushed tones and I got the impression they were just waiting for the baby to start howling. And since I've been in that very same situation oh-so-many-times myself I couldn't help but feel sincere empathy for them both.

In the same situation I often found myself swinging between thoughts of paying for the untouched food and dashing for the privacy of my car to feed my hungry baby or gulping down the food whilst trying to hold off the battle-cry with any and every implement of distraction at hand!

Even in a packed public place like the one we were in, I often felt very much alone as I wrestled with my conscience over what was the right thing to do - should I just go ahead and breastfeed knowing probably no-one would notice and even if they did, so what? Or should I just try to get out of the place and feed somewhere more private and less intimidating for me and my baby?

Ironically as I sat there relating to our new friends, Jack was displaying his own breastfed baby behaviour - tugging at my tea-shirt, breathlessly pleading for "Mama Juice" whilst my husband and I both tried our own distraction techniques - "Look at the wee baby, Jack... Aww isn't she lovely?" "Mama Juice, Mama Juice..."

These days, because of Jack's age however, I rarely dare to feed in public anymore - partly because I've never really felt entirely at ease doing so, partly because we're in serious weaning mode right now (which is not going down too well with him!), but mostly because I realise for Jack breastfeeding has really become more habit/ comfort than actual hunger or thirst (ie, he often polishes off his dinner, downs a glass of water and then sidles up to me with an adorably cute smile on his face and whispers his favourite words!)

When we'd finished our meal and got up to leave, I turned to say goodbye to the family and we got chatting again. As I was telling the mother of the baby how I'd had an early start with Sarah waking me at 5.45am demanding breakfast and that Jack had been up a few times too, she questioned why Jack had been up. As I proceeded to confide that Jack was still breastfeeding her eyes lit up as she too confided that her baby was was also breastfed and that was what had been wrong with her during the meal. We both laughed as I told her of my suspicions that her baby wanted a breastfeed and we joked how easy it must be if you could just have a bottle at the ready for those awkward moments!!

When I mentioned that I ran a breastfeeding website and gave her my card she exclaimed with amazement that she'd already come across it... What a truly small world we live in!

So if you're reading this Mary, I trust Isabel is keeping well and that the breastfeeding continues to go wonderfully for both of you! Who knows - perhaps we'll bump into one another again somewhere a bit warmer and drier next year!! And maybe Isabel will still be breastfeeding and you'll be another breastfeeding mum with an uncanny ability to pinpoint all the breastfeeding families around you!

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream!

Sleep Jack has slept through the night for the past week or so and it is just incredible how good it feels not to be woken up three times a night anymore!

Like I said a while back, I intended to wean Jack by the time he turned two. Well he was two on Sunday and guess what? I haven't weaned him yet... although I have reduced the number of feeds significantly and am now only letting him breastfeed first thing in the morning, around lunch-time, tea-time and bed-time. And not at all during the night anymore!!! Yippee...

But, sleep... what is it good for?

Well after a quick google I discovered that sleep:

  • Boosts your immunity
  • Makes you smarter
  • Helps you look better
  • Increases concentration
  • Makes you a nicer person

(source, VHI Healthcare, The Benefits of Sleep)

Already I couldn't agree more!

Physically I feel much better; I'm learning lots of new stuff for the company Stan and I have created, my skin is improving (I broke out in a rash of angry teenage-style acne last week!), I've been busily hammering away on my website adding over 40 pregnancy pages to it in just the last three or four days and I'm not feeling so angry and resentful towards people who disagree with me!

All that after just about a week of catching up. And perhaps the best thing is that I am now sleeping long enough to have the most amazing dreams, meaning I waken up feeling totally refreshed and alive!!

I can't wait to see how good it feels after six months!

Still Breastfeeding!

After the events of the past week, I'm delighted that Jack is still breastfeeding and his 34 hour break seems to have had no adverse effects on either of us. If anything he accepts now that if I say no that I mean it and will get him some other drink instead; so it appears to be helping the gentle weaning along.

Night-time is still our main problem, particularly because since it is very painful for me to lie on my side or to have Jack lying across me! But unfortunately it is at night that he protests most. However, I am trying to stick to my guns by letting him know that I am the one in control and that he can't have as many breastfeeds as he would probably like...

That makes me sound harsh, I suppose, but at the end of the day I feel that, after almost two years of feeding on demand, it's about time I got some control back and I feel it's important for the weaning.

Maybe he'll thank me for it one day. :)

The Weaning Project!

Finally weaning is going quite well.

As I mentioned before, I decided to slow things down a little and take the weaning more gradually. And thankfully, over the past week, Jack has been quite amenable to this plan of action. Ironically he has adapted to it more quickly than I expected and is now fairly content to drink from a cup during the day.

A trick I employed was to buy him a few special cups - one of which features a picture of his favourite character, Thomas the Tank Engine. I've also said to him on a few occasions that he's a big boy now and big boys drink from big cups and pointed out how daddy and his sisters drink from their cups! That has worked a treat!

As for the night-time feeding, Jack has moved from wakening for a feed three times a night to between once and twice. I still let him feed once at night but if he awakens a second time I turn away from him and he just holds onto my hair for a few moments before falling back to sleep. He doesn't even cry as he seems to have accepted that that is the way it is now!

So like I said, it's going well. He usually has a breastfeed on waking, one mid-morning,  once in the afternoon, one in the evening , another just before bed and then one during the night.

And he doesn't have one every single time I sit down anymore!!

However, that said, this new routine is not strictly adhered to. For example, we went to Belfast Zoo during the week and he didn't have a breastfeed at all that day - just when he woke up in the morning and again at bedtime. So I had almost a whole day off! And on other occasions if I think he really wants a feed during the day I just let him. The daytime feeding has never really been the issue, just the night-time - and it looks like we may have finally got that sussed!

I now feel at long last that I am the one in control of the feeds. If Jack wants a feed and it's inconvenient then he is now happily accepting a cup. On the other hand if convenience isn't a problem then I oblige and again he's happy!

Bingo!! One happy mummy and one happy and still breastfed toddler... I just hope now that I haven't spoken too soon! And who knows - we might even make it to the two year mark after all?

Weaning a Breastfeeding Toddler, Part Two!

I thought I'd update you on my weaning attempts. How's the weaning going? Simple answer, it's not!! Jack is not at all impressed and instead of graciously accepting that I have breastfed him for 20 months, he has decided to rebel against any attempts to stop and has upped the ante!

The first night was fine. He woke up three times and screamed the house down but each time I gave him a few sips of water and eventually he went back to sleep whilst holding my hair which has become somewhat of a security blanket for him at the moment. (I dread how I'm going to wean him off that particular habit!!)

Night two Jack really went for it. He resisted all attempts to prevent breastfeeding and eventually I foolishly gave in just so that I could get some sleep.

On the third night my wonderful hubby, aka Grumpy Old Man, had organised a surprise birthday party for me. He had invited all my family around after telling me he was taking me out for a meal and that my mum was coming to babysit (in order to get me all dressed up!). I was thrilled when people started arriving and couldn't believe he had organised it all by himself. (Although he later confessed my mum had a part to play in it all!).

Anyway, needless to say it was a very late night, again the weaning didn't go well and I gave in to the screaming bundle of frustration (Jack, not hubby!) at least twice...

And so to last night...

Well, last night was no better and as far as I can recall I breastfed Jack three times!

Admittedly I now realise it's time for strict self-discipline. I really do want to get Jack weaned but I find it hard to avoid giving in to him when he gets distressed, pulls at my clothes and pleads with me in his sweet little baby voice, "Mama Dooce" (Mama Juice!!).

Maybe I need to take a long lonesome holiday far away from that little voice - that would certainly do the trick! :)

Me and My Boy!

Just the Two of Us! In my last post I lamented the fact that I have started to properly wean Jack. But today, as I was thinking about whether my reasons for doing so were selfish or sensible, I came across a couple of posts from my breastfeeding blog carnival fellow bloggers.

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 has a great post full of night-time weaning tips which I plan on trying out over the next few days. And she got me thinking that if I can stop the night-time breastfeeding then I could still breastfeed Jack during the day until he reaches his second birthday; perhaps then it won't be such a big wrench for both of us!

Meantime I also discovered that Andi at Mama Knows Breast is also contemplating life without breastfeeding once her baby hits his first birthday in a couple of weeks!

So it seems I'm certainly not alone in my weaning plans!

By the way, I've just uploaded some more of my photos to my Flickr  page if any one wants a peek! They have nothing to do with breastfeeding but hey, I am a breastfeeding mum and they are my photos and this is my blog!! :)

Also whilst I'm shamelessly promoting my photos, I thought I'd mention Grumpy Old Man (hubby) has finally posted his five things few people know about him which I tagged him for last week!