Luke weaning

I will be the first to admit it. If I could shy away from weaning Luke I would, if I could setback the crawling a little I would. Yes I want to stop time! The realisation slaps you in the face. They are ready to move on. Try something new, but as a mummy or mammy as you would usually say from the North East of England you, like me might not be ready.

TOUGH now man up and let the weaning begin! In a recent post Breast -vs- Bottle I introduced you to the questions that I asked Julia Wolman RNutr. It was great to speak with Julia as although I love the NHS and them successfully bringing my children into the world when it comes to feeding I have done and still do feel a little lost.

Julia’s educational background includes a BSc (Hons) in Applied Human Nutrition, and a Masters Degree Psychology and Nutrition and is registered with the UK’s Association for Nutrition. With over a decade of experience working with NHS Trusts I love that Julia has delivered training to schools and children’s centres, and running healthy eating projects for local families.

.  But before I give you the answers I just wanted to let you know that Luke FINALLY starts on the ladder at the end of the month but only if he isn’t teething as teething can mimic the effects of an intolerance/allergy (sore bum, little cough, eczema flare, to name a few).

Q. What are the best substitutes for dairy products when weaning?

A. There are more then you might think they include;

Dairy free soya spread, dairy free margarine, dairy free sunflower spread, calcium enriched oat drinks, oat cream made from oats, vegan cheese, soya desserts and tofu for calcium.

Q. His porridge/breakfast cereal tastes disgusting to me as I make it with his milk but will he just be used to it?

A. Luke is used to the taste of his milk but you could try mixing with just water.

Q. Is milk intolerance and lactose intolerance different? (Luke has had no formal testing just observational). 

A. First of all Luke should be tested for a milk/lactose allergy as observation only gives part information. Cow’s milk allergy involves the immune system, babies who are allergic to cow’s milk protein will also show allergy symptoms like an itchy rash, wheezing, or runny noses and coughs. These aren’t seen in lactose intolerance, as this condition doesn’t involve the immune system.

Q. Luke will often accept some food one day and then completely refuse it the next (purse lip and turn his head) is this common and how can I tackle it?

A. It’s really common. Babies will often be happy to try a new taste and even if they pull a face at the first attempt it will be more from surprise more then anything else. Your baby may react differently the next time they experience the same food

You need to persevere. It can often take up to eight attempts for your baby to accept certain foods or tastes, so give them plenty of chances to try again.

But don’t worry is all else fails go back a step to foods with a mild flavor to tempt their taste buds.

Q. I don’t want to rush through stages but I do feel like we are a little behind which may have led to Luke refusing new foods. How can I tackle that?

A. Don’t rush but also don’t miss cues. Your baby may soon stop accepting things from a spoon and this is ok, it’s a sign of independence.

Click here for a further Q and A with Julia Wolman.



The milk diaries

Breast is best, that’s what we are told. The huge NHS booklet entitled ‘feeding your baby’ ONLY mentions breast. Company’s aren’t allowed to advertise their breast milk alternative formulas until stage two which is recommended for babies six months and up.

BUT is breast really what is best, always and for everyone? This post is on an emotive topic but I am talking purely about my own experience it’s not a judgement piece although I feel that I was judged.

Back in 2009 when I found out I was pregnant I wrote to PR’s and let them know and said I was happy to try out any breast-feeding aids. I was sent a multitude of items including a breast pumps, bottles, nipple shields, bras, disposable pads, nursing bras, cover ups and muslins. Here’s me naively thinking I just needed ‘me’ apparently not.

Emily took to feeding but she wouldn’t let go, I quickly not only became the milk giver but the equivalent of a dummy too. She woke up lots during the night. Did I lose weight during the breast-feeding time? The simple answer is no. I gained weight. I was sleep deprived and throughout the night I suffered from ‘the munchies’ and I’ve just come across this article published in The Guardian that backs this up.

I spoke to the health visitor about my increasing tiredness but she just nodded and said,

At this point it’s not about you it’s about the baby, isn’t it!

PERFECT not only did I feel like I was a less than able mum which you can read about in my blog posts entitled Pregnancy, childbirth and the happy ever after; not always and  Pregnancy, childbirth and the happy ever after; not always part two but essentially I had to give up every ounce of energy and sleep to take care of her and I did this until she was seven months but I shouldn’t have continued I shouldn’t have let society dictate what was right for me or my baby.

Experience one:

Continuous feeding seemingly around the clock, I was often found feeding Emily on our daily bus journeys and this was greeted from ‘ahhh’ to ‘that’s disgusting!’ Baby to toddler to little girl her sleeping patterns established early on lasted until she started school. Feeding was a control thing for me, whilst I was doing that I knew I was able to do atleast one thing right for her. Dismissive health visitors comments could have had disastrous consequences.

So onto baby two. Luke was born at 35 weeks at a very healthy weight of 5lb 13ozs. He lived his first few days in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and had a feeding tube up his nose. His tummy was first filled not by my milk but by formula and I hated this. I did lots of skin to skin kangaroo care and was shown how to hand express, which infact is a little humiliating where you basically kneed you breasts and a nurse collects the meagre drops in the tiniest of syringes. I was so proud feeding my boy with my milk through his tube.

Next my milk came in. I requested a proper machine and pumped away until there was a surplus of milk and astounded the nurses at just how much I produced. He took to the breast no bother even though he was still having the majority of his feeds via the tube. Once he had a proper taste of boob milk he actually pulled out his own feeding tube, enough was enough.

Feeding Luke was easy and no fuss. He had his fill and came off naturally with a smile. He never used my nipple as a dummy. Then when he was five weeks old he started to vomit, a little at first then increasingly to the point of 75 percent of the feed almost 100 percent of the time. I started to worry. He was only a wee one! What was I doing wrong? Reflux was suggested so I went to the doctors and requested baby Gaviscon but was denied. The locum doctor wanted Luke to be assessed as paediatrics wasn’t his specialism (as a GP I didn’t expect it to be but reflux is a common issue).

I took Luke to a hospital department and his feeding was observed and six hours later it was decided he was milk intolerant and I was making him poorly. Instead of talking me through what I should alter in my diet Luke was prescribed a specialist milk. Boom. In that instant the consultant expected me to give up feeding as it was right for my son.

I tried to go dairy free and not use the formula but after a slip up of drinking a huge latte my boy was again in pain. Before jumping in may I point out that I did consult my health visitor and local La Leche League but no support was given.

Being bottle fed though meant other people could join in. My initial job role redundant. This is my last child and instead of weaning him off my breast gently he was forcibly removed. He didn’t mind the formula which stunk of malted milk. He smiled again after a feed. My boy was happy and so was I.

Experience two;

Slow start due to circumstances, happy smiley baby after feeds, no breast or nipple pain then projectile vomit, Luke looking in pain, no support to continue breast feeding which is so contradictory to my last experience.

I NEVER thought at that point that weaning would be affected but Luke will be put on a weaning ladder and foods introduced in a slow and steady manner with different levels of milk content.

I was given the opportunity to talk with Baby Moov’s chosen little person nutritionist Julia Wolman RNutrand here are some of the questions that I asked;

  1. What are the best substitutes for dairy products when weaning?
  2. His porridge/breakfast cereal tastes disgusting to me as I make it with his milk but will he just be used to it?
  3. Is milk intolerance and lactose intolerance different? (Luke has had no formal testing just observational).
  4. Luke will often accept some food one day and then completely refuse it the next (purse lip and turn his head) is this common and how can I tackle it?
  5.  Is it better to mix foods or keep tastes separate? The reason I ask is that shop bought jars/pouches seem to be a mix of 2-5 items which I seems strange as wont it be dominated by the stronger flavoured items?
  6. I don’t want to rush through stages but I do feel like we are a little behind which may have led to Luke refusing new foods. How can I tackle that?
  7. I’m still puréeing pretty much everything, with Luke being early I do see that I’m doing things more slowly then I did with his big sister. Can this cause more harm then good?
  8. What are the best finger foods to start with?
  9. What was your childs’ most favourite thing to eat when they were 8.5/9 months.

Read my next instalment to find out how the #stresslessweaning programme is progressing and see the answers to my questions.

PS. I forgot to say whether I consider breast to be best or not. Here I am going to sit on the fence. Do what is right for YOU as well as your baby. You need to look after yourself as without a healthy you then everything in a baby’s immediate world is affected!


This time last year I was well into my third trimester and a little rounded to say the least.

It had been five years since I was pregnant with Emily and my weight and fitness has been good, great, poor and very poor at different times over those years. I was 34 when I became pregnant with Emily and you’d think I’d be sensible at that age but oh no I definitely decided to ‘eat for two’ as the saying goes.

No no to caffeine – the first thing to go in my diet was coffee. This wasn’t a choice I in fact had no choice as even the slightest smell of coffee knocked me sick to the point of vomiting. En route to my H&S job I collected an intern each day and she insisted on bringing a pot of coffee into the car but I didn’t want to tell her and she seeming seemed oblivious to my retching. The saving grace is that it was summer and I could drive with the car windows down without question.

Cravings – pickled fish. In fact anything at all doused in vinegar. I was often found in the kitchen day or night downing shots of vinegar. It sounds absolutely disgusting now but truly vinegar at the time was akin to the finest bottle of Champagne well to me any way.

I also had a penchant to burrito’s and Doritos (taste buds have just gone off simply writing that).

This time round I was 39 when I found out that I was pregnant with little Luke and wanted to use Emily’s pregnancy as something to learn from but all I wanted to do was eat and eat and eat nothing appeared to fill me. Weight was steadily going on and I was only ever weighed once and that was the initial appointment. Although a mature adult I acted like a child and didn’t know when to stop eating this had to stop. Then a light bulb moment I rediscovered my love of smoothies.

I had done quite a lot of reading and knew it was important to do the following;

  1. Eat atleast the government guideline of five fruits and veg per day.
  2. Eat starchy carbohydrates at every meal to fill you for longer.
  3. Have low fat dairy products twice a day to ensure your need for calcium is met.
  4. Ensure protein rich food factor at least twice a day.
  5. Remember you only need an extra 200 calories per day so restrict the intake of sugar and fat.
  6. Add natural folic acid into the diet which included leafy green veg (kale roasted in the oven with sea salt and a little oil became a snack staple)

Apparently you are only expected to gain 1lb a week if you started you pregnancy at a defined healthy BMI but those like me who sat above the healthy range only 1/2lb was acceptable. Yes I have heard it all before, “don’t gain too much weight, as it’s harder to lose it post-pregnancy, especially when you are an old mum”. Now stand back before I punch you, was often the thought running around my head whilst I gave a disingenuous smile to the wisdom giver, as they only meant well, didn’t they?

Now back to my love of smoothies. Rediscovered in month six whilst on a visit to Intu Metro Centre and there was a smoothie stand I was really hungry/thirsty and I was intrigued by the queue around the booth diagonally opposite from Greggs (I will forever love their sausage rolls). I can’t quite remember the name but it had a bit of everything in there.

Off home I went via the supermarket and health food shop to load up on smoothie ingredients a plenty. I got some fab ideas from Pinterest. I had a completely outdated blender and had already started looking up blenders when I came across Baby Moov a brand I wasn’t familiar and it’s Nutribaby I knew it was the product that did what I wanted. It steamed and blended and didn’t take up too much counter space. Alas I talked myself out of the purchase, I couldn’t treat myself to something that is aimed specifically at baby weaning. Absolute codswallop. If I’d bought it when I was six months pregnant and then used it for weaning (when baby turns six months old) I would have had the equivalent of a full term pregnancy of  use out of it equating to only £11 per month and then there was it’s future existence to. No brainer I shouldn’t have deprived myself. I do have one now though as I’m part BabyMoov’s 2016/17 cohort of brand ambassadors.

Over the next few months I’m going to let you see my Nutribaby in action and re-live those delicious pregnancy smoothies. They were epic and I hope you will enjoy them when you try them.

This is a collaborative post with Baby Moov #stresslessweaning