How We Ditched the Bottle

When Indy turned one in December, I wanted to make moves on getting him off a bottle for his morning and evening milk.  He’s used sippy cups and beakers for water since we started weaning, but he would always refuse his milk if I gave it to him in anything other than a bottle.  We all know how health visitors want babies off their bottles by 12 months, and I really felt that pressure, so once December came I was ready for battle and he’s now been completely bottle-free since April! 

Start when you transition to cows milk

Once he reached 12 months, we made the transition from formula to cows milk, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to start trying a beaker for his morning milk.  Even though he’s had cows milk with food since 6 months, it was a completely different taste as a drink to formula, so I thought combining this, without a bottle was the perfect time. 

Try the morning feed first

I felt the morning feed would be easier to crack first, as his bottle gave him so much comfort in the evening.  In the morning he’s always raring to go, so isn’t as reliant on his milk – he will take it to go and play and could drink it over the course of an hour, but at night time, he wolfs it down and will then go straight to sleep. 

Get a new beaker or cup

This is something that massively helped – I bought Indy a cup that is exclusively for his milk.  He has 2 sippy cups and 2 Munchkin 360 cups for his water but would not drink milk from either so I bought a Haberman Cow beaker for him to try.  It’s a different style of beaker and it’s cow print so also looks very different to his others, and he’s really taken to it so this has pretty much replaced his bottle.  A little tip if you do decide to get it – Indy has to suck really hard to get the milk out, so I just pierced the spout with a knife to make it more free flow.  

Be persistent

Those first few mornings were a struggle – however enthusiastic you try to be about a new cow beaker, babies really know what they want!  I had to succumb to the bottle a couple of times, but kept offering the cow cup and after about a week, he was using it without an issue. 

Move onto the evening bottle once fully settled into the morning routine

This was purely by choice as I felt it would unsettle him less at night.  I left it a couple of months before we tried getting him off his night bottle – I could have probably done it a bit sooner, but I knew he was definitely ready at this point.  

Make other changes to the bedtime routine

My idea for this was to make it less obvious that he wasn’t having a bottle as his whole routine was different… and it actually worked!  We usually started bedtime wind down around 6.15pm – starting with a story, then bathtime and then straight to bed with his bottle. I moved things around by giving him his cow beaker with milk at 6.15pm while we’re still downstairs playing; we move up to the bath at 6.40pm, then story time while he finishes the last of his milk, and then move him into his cot.  The first time I tried this was on a bit of a whim, as my husband was out for the evening, but it worked a treat and we’ve done it every night since. But most importantly, Indy still sleeps straight through!

Since we’ve ditched the bottle, I’ve bought a couple of extra beakers as I couldn’t always rely on the cow beaker if we were going away or going out, and he now takes milk from any cup, so it’s just about breaking that association for them as Indy still gets great comfort from his milk at bedtime.

So these are my main tips and how it worked for us – I’d love to hear how you managed to crack the bottle too! xxx

Banana Oat Loaf

This week has been VERY hectic – I knew we had a busy one coming, with lots of early starts with 3 people needing to get ready and out of the house on time, so I needed to be organised!  I wanted to make a breakfast that we could all have to grab on the go at once, but something fairly healthy and guilt-free. I had 3 ripe bananas, so decided on a banana bread loaf alternative with oats rather than flour, and honey instead of sugar, and I was really impressed with the result!

It was really quick to make – I just added all the below ingredients to a food processor to mix together, and then added to a greased loaf tin and baked until golden and cooked through.  Easy-peasy!

3 ripe bananas

2 cups of rolled oats

2 large eggs

2 tbsp of honey

1 tsp baking powder

As the loaf contains honey, it should only be given to babies over 1 year old 🙂

I added the oats into the food processor whole, as opposed to blending in the Nutribullet to make them finer like oatmeal, so I was a bit worried the loaf would be quite dense, but it really wasn’t as the bananas kept it moist.  The bananas also stopped it from going dry throughout the week – I made the loaf on Saturday and we finished it on Wednesday evening, so it lasted well covered up and stored in a Tupperware.

Here’s what we did with it:

Sunday

Indy had it for breakfast with some yoghurt and berries.

My husband and I had a little slice with a cup of tea!

Monday

We all had it for breakfast before Indy’s 9.15am Toddler Sense class – this time, with some peanut butter spread on top!

Tuesday and Wednesday

My husband and I both had a couple of slices with a bit of butter spread on for breakfast on the way to the office, and Indy had the same thing in the evening as an after-nursery snack!

The loaf was super easy and quick to make, and lasted really well throughout the week.  It was really versatile and handy to have for a quick snack or eating on the go and I always have all the ingredients in, so will definitely become one of my new regulars to make for us all!  Comment below if you have any favourite recipes to feed your family in a rush or on the go! xxx

Why we loved the Sleepyhead Deluxe

As we offer Newborn Boxes as starter packs for parents-to-be, I started thinking about what other baby items I would consider newborn essentials, so I could compile a list of ‘what to buy’ for a blog post coming up in a few weeks.  One of the most valuable things we bought was the Sleepyhead Deluxe and I knew this needed a blog of its own.

I’d read a lot about it when I was pregnant (pros and cons), and saw loads of posts about it on Instagram – I really felt it would work for us so we took the plunge and bought one, and it really didn’t disappoint.  We used it from day 1, right up until Indy was 8 months old and in his big cot, and he loved it as much as we did. Here’s why:

It’s cocoon shape

Indy hated being swaddled, his arms instantly escaped as he wanted freedom, so rather than him getting lost in a moses basket or crib when he was tiny, the Sleepyhead made him feel safe and cocooned, yet he had freedom to move his arms and legs.  He took to the Sleepyhead instantly, both at nap times and at night, so it became an integral part of his sleep routine straightaway,

It can be moved ANYWHERE

I never really fancied a moses basket, so we bought the Tutti Bambini Cozee Bedside Crib to have in our bedroom, but this meant Indy didn’t have a place to sleep downstairs for sleeps in the day, as I definitely wasn’t lugging the crib down the stairs every morning!  The Sleepyhead can be moved anywhere for naps as it is so light! Indy often slept in it on the sofa when he was very little, and then when he got bigger I could just move it into the crib without waking him. It easily fit into the bedside crib, so he always slept in it at night time too.  

You can take it away with you

The Sleepyhead came everywhere with us – to my parents house, to Wales, and to Ibiza.  It comes with a sturdy bag so is easy to pack and carry, and it made sleeping away from home so much more comfortable for Indy.  Even though he would be in a different cot, he was still in the Sleepyhead so his immediate surrounding was familiar.

It’s easy to wash

The cover an be taken off and washed, and put back on fairly easily with practise (there is a bit of a nak to it!)  You can buy spare covers but I didn’t, and found washing and drying in the same day doable.

It can be used for play and development

The curved part of the bumper can be used for tummy time! You can also buy activity arches for it, but the arch on our play mat fit perfectly so we just used this. One of our favourite things to use it for, was to place it on our kitchen work surface, and turn the music, disco lights and bubble machine on to make the kitchen into a sensory room with Indy lying in his Sleepyhead and taking everything in!

It made an easy transition from crib to cot

As with taking the it away with you, the Sleepyhead made it easy to transition Indy from his crib into his big cot.  I started putting the Sleepyhead in his big cot for daytime naps initially, and then for night time, and his sleep was never disturbed.  He moved into his own room at 4 months old after we had got back from holiday. As he had already been sleeping in the Sleepyhead in the travel cot for 2 weeks, we didn’t want him to settle back into his crib in our bedroom, so made the move into his big cot straightaway, and the Sleepyhead kept everything familiar for him so it was an easy transition for us to make.

The bumper can still be used in the main cot

Indy outgrew the Sleepyhead at around 6 months old and I didn’t want to commit to buying the bigger one.  Rather than go cold turkey, I took the foam bumper out of the cover, and placed this underneath his cot sheet, so he still had a form of cocoon cushion in his cot, which worked so well!  We used the bumper in his cot until he was rolling over and then took it away completely, and literally, no fuss was made!

These are the reasons why we loved our Sleepyhead, and why it worked for us and I hope you have found it useful – it really did make our lives easier in those first few months. I’d love to hear if you used one and what you thought of it too! xxx

Tips for Flying Long Haul

Our trip to New York in April was the 3rd holiday abroad Indy’s been on, but the first long haul, as well as the first one where he’s properly mobile and into EVERYTHING, so I was a bit concerned about how the flights would go.

Our flight from Manchester was at 9am, so I was expecting him to be awake A LOT, whereas our flight home was a night flight, so I was a little bit more relaxed about this one as I presumed he would just sleep the majority of the way back (which he did thank God!), so most of these tips are for day time flights where there are a lot of hours to fill!  

Be organised!

As I had done all the packing for hand luggage, I knew where everything was and in what bag, so it made more sense for me to be in charge of getting things and my husband to hold Indy and have him on his lap.  We had one rucksack for his food, drinks, entertainment and any changes of clothes, and Indy’s small Mickey Mouse rucksack for nappies, wipes and medicines. I tried to have as few loose items as possible, so his food was in his Yumbox Bento Box, and all his medicines were in a small zip up washbag, so there was no danger of things going flying on the plane and getting lost.  As soon as there was a little grumble, my husband and I jumped into action, with him distracting Indy and me rushing to get the next thing to grab his attention.

Small changing bag / pouch to take into the small plane toilet

I used Indy’s small rucksack for this, so had it stocked with 6 nappies, a pack of wipes, nappy sacks, and his medicine bag.  It was so easy just to grab, and take into the small plane toilet to change him, as well as the airport toilets without having to unpack or rummage through any other bags.  

Tire them out in the airport for a nap early on

We checked our pram into the hold as usual, so Indy walked from check in to security, and then to the gate, so once we were on the plane he was exhausted! He had some breakfast with some milk for take off, and then slept for a solid 2 hours, so I managed to get through most of ‘A Star Is Born’ in one go! 😉

My Quiet Book

This is something I discovered from Instagram and bought from Amazon.  It’s basically a big cloth book, with a different activity or something to fiddle with on each page – such as a crocodile with a zip as its mouth to open and close, or a shoelace to tie and untie, or velcro animals to match up to shapes.  The whole book also closes with a zip fastening so no pieces are lost. I kept this hidden from Indy until we got on the plane, and this was the first thing he played with, and we even took it out to restaurants to keep him entertained so I’m really pleased with it.

Ipad / Headphones

Indy doesn’t have a tablet to use at home, but I remember seeing an instagram post from Tom Fletcher, saying his children still believe ipads only work on airplanes (!) so I thought we’d take ours as a potential last resort.  I loaded it with some films and some baby drawing games, and got it out mid-flight but it only kept his attention for about 10 minutes before he was onto the next thing. Our New York holiday was very full on and we were out all the time, but if we were having a more relaxed sun holiday, the ipad may have come in useful more for watching films, so I would still probably always take it.  

Wrapping up new toys – books / puzzles / colouring books

This was something i’d read about a lot – I bought some cheap colouring books and a pack of crayons, a puzzle and a couple of new books, and wrapped them up in wrapping paper so unwrapping them was an activity in itself!  We read the books a couple of times on the plane, and again, all things came out with us during the trip to keep him entertained when were out and about so were really useful.

Snacks, snacks and more snacks – Yumbox

I’ve written about my love for this Yumbox on our Instagram page already, but it was perfect for travelling.  I filled it with a variety of foods for the journey as it was to be his breakfast and lunch, as well as something to keep him occupied and keeping all snacks in one place!  I also took a banana and a couple of oranges which he ate first for breakfast, and had a stash of breadsticks, raisins and fruit bars in our suitcase as back up! You can literally not pack enough snacks, to accommodate for delays and even just to take out with you while you are away.  

Extra milk

Indy only has cows milk first thing in the morning and last thing at night, but I thought I would take and extra bottle for the journey and a couple of small bottles of instant Aptamil ‘just-in-case’.  He ended up having one bottle mid-flight, which was unusual but it gave him some comfort.

Looking out the window

So simple, and really effective!  This occupied a lot of time, especially towards the end of the flight as we were coming in to land – so always book a window seat!

Walking around the plane

I didn’t want to do this for hours, but 4 hours in we did a few laps to stretch his legs (and mine!) when he was getting a bit restless.  It did the job and gave him a change of scenery, and he went straight back to look out the window!

Most of these tips are probably pretty obvious, but they really worked for us and can be applied to most ages and any length flight.  If you have any other ones, comment below! xxx

 

Trying Out Smoothies

I’ve been reading a few things recently about giving children smoothies as they can be a great way to add more nutrition into their diet, especially in foods they would normally not choose to eat. They add key vitamins, protein and fibre in a really quick and easy way. I also love making juices in my Nutribullet so I can get involved too!

I wanted to ensure the smoothies contained lots of green veg, so I started using kale and spinach.  I added a form of fruit to sweeten it, but making sure to not use a bigger amount of fruit than the vegetable.  I then added either avocado or banana to give it an element of creaminess, and then a milk to make a smoother consistency.  As you don’t need massive quantities to make a juice, I had a rummage in the fridge and freezer to see what I could use without buying any special ingredients.  I tried a few different ones so far, with very mixed reviews.

Kale

Frozen berries – raspberries / blackberries / blackcurrants

Banana

Almond milk

Chia seeds

This was the first one I tried and it wasn’t a massive hit – he took tiny sips with a look of disgust and didn’t finish it as it kept going browner and browner as the day went on, so I understood why!  It honestly tasted great, but the berries made it a dark murky colour and the chia seeds made it a bit gloopy, but seeing as Indy’s only ever drank milk and water, it was an ok start.

Kale

Frozen Mango

Avocado

Almond milk

Indy was very dubious of the cup coming towards him when it was an odd green colour.  I left the chia seeds out of this one so once blended, it was a really smooth juice, I also loosened his with a bit more almond milk.  He liked this one better than yesterday and drank half of it over the course of a few hours, going back for a few sips every now and again, which was progress.   

Spinach

Frozen mango

Banana

Whole milk

Yoghurt

I left the almond milk out of this one, and used some whole milk and yoghurt instead – I thought that if I used something he was more familiar with to taste, then he’d be more willing to try, and it really worked!  I also changed the cup so he wasn’t necessarily expecting water to come out of it when he drank, and he finished the lot!

Spinach

Frozen mango

Apple

Avocado

Almond milk

Yoghurt

Again, this juice was a winner.  I reverted back to almond milk on this one, but used a tea spoon of yoghurt to make it much creamier. Even though i’ve used two fruits in this one, I only used a small amount of each and still made sure the volume of spinach was more.  

I gave Indy his smoothie for breakfast, along with whatever I was giving him to eat that day.  If he hadn’t finished it by the time we were heading out for the morning, I took his cup with us and he would drink it instead of having a morning snack.  This saw him through until lunchtime, so was also something really quick and easy to prepare for being out and on the go.

Comment below if you’ve tried giving smoothies to your little ones, and what you’re favourite recipes are! X

 

Puff Pastry Pin Wheels

I first saw pinwheels when Indy’s friend had one for his lunch on a playdate – his was filled with Marmite which Indy isn’t keen on yet, but I thought i’d have a little experiment of my own.  I bought some puff pastry sheets, and had a little rummage in the fridge for what I could use as a filling, again trying to be as efficient as possible with ingredients.

I found some spinach which I finely chopped and mixed with some cream cheese.  I rolled out the pastry, spread the spinach and cheese mixture on, then rolled the pastry back up into a tight roll.  I sealed the end slightly with a fork, cut into slices about 2cm thick, and baked in the oven until golden. I cut the pastry sheet in half before making, so I was able to make pin wheels with 2 fillings, out of just one puff pastry sheet.  

I gave one to Indy to test for his dinner that night, along with some sweet potato and avocado, and he really enjoyed it!  I froze the remainder of the batch, and now pull one out to defrost if we are out and about – it’s made a nice change to him having a sandwich!

Again, there are so many filling combinations to use when making these, both sweet and savoury, and using up any leftovers.  I also made a batch with tomato puree and grated cheddar cheese inside, and these also went down a treat. The only negative is that they are MESSY – so definitely not one to eat in the pram! 😉 x

 

Breakfast – Easy Banana Pancakes

Indy is going through another fussy food phase – this time, breakfast.  He’s gone off crumpets, cereal, porridge, and now crusts, which means toast is on thin ice.  As my banana and quinoa pancakes have been a long term staple since we started baby led weaning, I decided to start looking for alternatives which he could have with yoghurt and fruit, which is where I found these.  They. Are. Amazing – sweet and full of protein, and only THREE ingredients!

1 egg

1 banana

½ tsp baking powder

Mash the banana whisk the egg, and then mix together with the baking powder – I just blitz together in the Nutribullet for speed  

Heat a little butter in a frying pan

Spoon the mixture into the pan – I prefer to shape into small pancakes as they are easier to control

Cook on both sides until golden  

It’s been a long while since Indy has inhaled a meal, looking so happy with himself and even went back for seconds!  They were super quick to make in the morning, and I served with a little yoghurt and strawberries on the side as normal.  You must give them a try! x

 

Teething Remedies

Indy’s 14 months old and has 16 teeth – since Christmas his canines and molars have all cut through so he’s had a rough few weeks… and so have we 😉  It’s easy to assume that any pain your baby has is down to teething, as there’s usually no major signs aside from a grouchy temperament, rosy cheeks or excessive dribbling.  Because of this, my husband and I have a go-to selection of remedies to use when the going gets tough. They vary in strength, and we always start off subtle and build up to a stronger one when he’s really struggling.

Teething Gel

This is our first go to – either rubbing a bit on his gums or occasionally on his dummy for him to have a good suck.  As he has more teeth now, this isn’t working as well as it did when he was younger.

Razbery Teether

Indy’s never really taken to teething toys – he’d much rather chew on a remote or a wooden block than something he’s actually meant to chew on!  He’s always had a dummy for nap times which is why I loved the idea of this, and it worked a treat. As the teat part is nobbly for the raspberry, he was able to properly gnaw down and chew on it which made it so much quicker for a tooth to cut through.  

Ice Cream / Ice Lollies

I started giving Indy this in the heatwave of last summer to cool him down, but then he started teething and it was like killing two birds with one stone!  The ice completely numbed his mouth and you could see by his face how therapeutic and satisfying it was to have the ice in his mouth.

Teething Granules

This is a homeopathic remedy that I was recommended and a bit sceptical of, but they really work!  I could have tried everything else, and then half a sachet of these granules would instantly calm Indy down and stop him crying – they are amazing and were my fail safe until recently when his bigger teeth have come through.

Anbesol Liquid

I’ve only had to use this a handful of times recently, mainly when his 4 canine teeth were cutting through at the same time 🙁 I started by rubbing a small amount on his gums where I could, and then dabbing a bit on his dummy, and this really helped him relax and sleep during the night.  

Calpol / Nurofen

I’ve had to include these in this list as I do give them to Indy for pain relief, as I’m sure most of you do too.  Obviously just read instructions and guidelines carefully.

Amber Anklet

I first started seeing / reading about these when I was pregnant, and bought one for Indy at around 5 months when teething signs first started appearing as I was curious and he’s been wearing it ever since!  A big part of me thinks this is psychological, but I can’t bring myself to take it off him just in case! And it does look super cute 🙂

Cuddles

This is simple, but so effective, and great for Mummys and Daddys too!

These are my go-to remedies for Indy, so are my opinion as opposed to what I am advising, but I hope you found them useful.  And if you have any game-changer treatments, comment below to let us know – we’re all in this together! x

 

Using Up Leftovers and Packing In Veggies

Since Indy’s turned one, he’s been so much fussier with his food – something he loves one day, he will hate the day after, so there’s no continuity with the foods I know he will eat and enjoy.  Apart from carbs…! He’s also started to recognise the foods he likes, so as soon as he knows he’s unsure of something on his plate, he won’t even attempt to try it, so i’ve had to think outside the box a bit in making sure he’s eating balanced meals.  

You all know I hate wastage, and like to be as efficient as possible with the food I buy.  We sometimes have leftover vegetables in the fridge at the end of the week, and I know Indy would refuse to eat some roasted pepper or courgette if I put it on his plate, so I decided to get a bit more creative.  

I chopped up and roasted the vegetables we had leftover – one red pepper, one courgette, two carrots and two parsnips.  I then fried off a diced onion and 2 garlic cloves, and added the roasted veg along with some leftover passata and some water to loosen.  Once all had been cooked down, I blended in the Nutribullet until smooth. I made this quite thick so it could be more of a ‘dip’ consistency as opposed to a soup, but I could add more water to it to loosen it where necessary.

I still do weekly meal plans for Indy, so was able to incorporate this veg into his lunches and dinners for the week:

  • Chicken goujons, sweet potato and avocado – I dipped the chicken in the sauce as a dip
  • Alternative to tomato sauce on homemade pizzas – I used sandwich thins and spread the veg sauce on and topped with mozzarella
  • Pasta with sausage and peas – I added water to the veg mix to make a looser pasta sauce

I was so surprised how much he enjoyed everything!  He rarely eats chicken but ate all of it with the vegetable dip, and he usually gets bored of pasta but wolfed it all down.  I will definitely try this again as the options for meals are endless, and all from random bits of veg left in the fridge. I also had a few portions leftover so have tubbed these up and put them in the freezer for next week!

 

My Holiday Essentials

Once we’d booked our first holiday with Indy last year, I started looking into the main pieces we would need to take to keep luggage minimal and packing efficient.  I didn’t want to take our Bugaboo, mainly because I didn’t want it to get damaged in the hold, so I started looking into a travel pram, and then a cot etc. The pieces I bought did cost a bit of money on top of the holiday, but these will be our travel kit for years to come for trips in the UK and abroad, so I consider them an investment!  These are the essentials I would highly recommend for travelling with a baby, and now a toddler!

Travel Pram

This was our travel pram of choice, although we have the plain black version.  I love the sporty look, and it really is super light to carry and easy to pack away and put up.  I even use it here in the winter months for dog walks to stop our Bugaboo getting really dirty! It has a big basket underneath for the essentials, plus a big pocket at the back of the seat where I usually keep valuables that are in easy reach when pushing!  The back seat cover can lift up to reveal a mesh panel, which enables good air flow throughout the pram which is great for those afternoon naps on the beach! It’s easy to push on sand, and is also folds up neatly to fit in the smallest of travel car boots! We started using this when Indy was 3 months old, so we’ll definitely get lots of use out of it.  

Pram bag

I really can’t recommend getting a pram bag enough.  This one is technically a car seat bag, but it’s huge, and our pram fits perfectly in it, plus room for nappies, swim nappies, and toys.  We check this in with all the other luggage, and away we go.

Travel Cot

We thought this was just going to be a cheap and cheerful travel cot we could take to friends houses, but we’ve ended up using it for holidays as it’s fairly light and packs up really neatly. I can also pack sheets, sleeping bags and blankets inside, which is an extra space saver.  The only downfall, is that I found the mattress is too thin and hard for Indy – I tried padding it out with towels, but because he’s such a wriggler, these just end up coming off. I bought a separate travel cot mattress from Mothercare, which still folds up, but I pack this in with the pram in the pram bag.  

Microwave Steriliser

I decided to go with microwave sterilising abroad as opposed to using cold water tablets, as i felt it was cheaper, and less luggage.  Our accommodation always had microwaves too, whereas I know hotel rooms often don’t have them. This one is fairly small so easily fits in a hand luggage suitcase, and one bottle fits inside, so will again save you space! This steriliser is nowhere near as convenient as the one you will use at home, as it takes around 15 minutes to sterilise one bottle, so you will just need to plan in your sterilising time around having a cocktail around the pool 😉

Packaway Pocket High Chair

We were given this as a gift, and didn’t appreciate it until we went away.  All restaurants we went to had high chairs, but this was so useful to have when eating in or apartment or villa where there wasn’t one.  Its fabric so folds neatly into the baby bag so you can take everywhere with you, and Indy was very secure when it was tied to the chair.  He is used to eating straight off the table surface, but as this was tied to the chair he was quite low, so we just layered up some cushions which made him the right height.  Again, this is an inexpensive item that will last you a good few years.

Boots Soltan Baby Sun Cream SPF50+

As much as I hate using a cream sun protect as I find them too thick and sticky, I loved this one for Indy on his first holidays and his first time in hot sunshine.  I could see where i’d missed bits, and I was always confident i’d applied enough. Even when he was in and out of the pool, I found the cream really lasted and didn’t always need reapplying.  When he gets a bit older, i’m sure i’ll move to high factor sprays and aerosols as we would use, but in his first year and his skin not being used to the sun, I found this was perfect.

I hope you’ve found these useful, and if you have any questions on any of these recommendations, please let me know in the comments below 🙂