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Dear Baby, it’s not you, it’s us, but we want to break up, for good, love Mummy’s Boobs

At the end of May I realised that if I didn’t want to either tandem feed my toddler & newborn or cause lots of sadness to my toddler on baby’s arrival, that I needed to wean her fully off the boob some time before her little brother’s arrival. I have to make it clear that it’s not something I think anyone else shoulddo, I just personally don’t want to be feeding my 21 month old and a newborn because then I have no idea how I would wean the toddler. If I wasn’t pregnant I wouldn’t have minded the occasional comfort feed or night feed. Similarly I have no opinion on people who continue extended feeding, everything his just personal preference. 

Ok, anyway, I had hoped to have a few months, 3 at least before baby boy arrived but it didn’t work out. I was trying to wean her off, she was pretty much only having middle of the night feeds and occasional comforts at times of stress such as teething or if she hurt herself, so there wasn’t a lot to get rid of but those middle of the night ones were tough because when everyone needs to sleep I find I’m pretty happy to do almost anything to get her to sleep, even if I don’t want to be doing it, read breast feed, co sleep (in our bed or her toddler bed 😫), dance a jig whatever! So roll around my husband’s birthday in June and I had organised a weekend away, with Nanny babysitting. This was a final hurrah before we had 3 kids to contend with, a dirty weekend (7 months preggo 😂), and a chance to just hang out the two of us, so it was a big deal to me. I was pretty freaked out because I had only ever spent one night away from my littlest daughter and that was on our wedding night when she was 15 months old, so I didn’t know how I was going to cope with 2 nights, let alone how she would manage. I also had the added stress of not wanting her to be distraught without me (or my boobs) so I had this weekend as my focus for by baby and my boobs to break up! The weekend away was a surprise so I found additional difficulty in going through the mental strain alone, I couldn’t explain to my husband why I was so upset about everything, but that’s just an aside (basically I just made things harder for myself). 

My parenting style is probably best described as gentle attachment with a side order of practical mama, so I generally want to be careful and gentle but I am also realistic, and to coin a phrase, know that to make omelettes you have to break a few eggs. So I didn’t have time for her to simply decide she didn’t need the boob, I needed to steer her that way. I started with in the day time if she went for the boob, to laugh and say ‘no’ playfully and tickle her, telling her she was a big girl and didn’t need mummy milk, she laughed and was fine with that….RESULT! 

At night, after her bedtime or middle of the night bottles, if she went for the boob, I would just cover them with my hand a stroke her hair, cuddle her etc and try to distract her or gently say no. By the time we went away she had been off the boob for 11 days and nights straight and I was feeling super proud. She seemed totally fine. She did asks for it occasionally but showed no stress when she was guided away. That was about 6 weeks ago…. She has been mostly off the boob but there have been a few relapses. There was one morning where I slept in her room, she had a terrible night, she wanted the boob all night, I managed to settle her (eventually) without it but had virtually no sleep. In the morning my husband woke up to her and brought her to me, we cuddled and she went for the boob, I was too tired to argue, she fed and we slept together for about 2 or 3 hours, we needed the sleep more than I needed her to not be on the boob. I felt so conflicted after, I knew I needed to be kind to myself and at 7/8 months pregnant I really needed to sleep, and I was also glad to be able to provide comfort to my daughter as I felt that strange mixture of pride (in my strength) and guilt (in my refusal) at not providing what she was asking for, but I also felt like ultimately I wasn’t helping her because the baby is going to arrive soon and he will be the only one with access to the boobie bar and my biggest fear is causing her undue stress or making her resent her brother because he can have the boob and she can’t. Mother’s guilt seriously sucks! 
Since then she has probably has what I would call 2 or 3 “feeds” and then a couple of sneak attacks where she has snuck on (I’ll explain how that’s possible in a minute) but together we have gently ended it within a minute. The latest sneak attack was just a couple of days ago with baby due in a week. She tried to get them last night, but this time I anticipated it, so I was able to redirect rather than having to remove, but needless to say with 4 days until due date I am nervous about the impact his breastfeeding will have on her.

So how does a baby sneak on to your boob you might be wondering? Since we ended the boobie relationship, she developed a new habit of playing with my nipples as she drinks her milk or goes to sleep (for her daytime nap she has a story and a cuddle but no milk), or wants comfort – yes at the supermarket the hand goes down the top – lovely. I really don’t enjoy this nipple twiddling, especially with pregnant highly sensitive boobs, but I felt that I could go one step at a time and didn’t want to cut her off entirely – now I’m thinking cold turkey would have been better but hindsight is a wonderful thing! So in the night / early morning if she is in bed with me, which usually happens around 2-4 am, she will sometimes go to sleep no problem with the bottle but sometimes needs to fondle my to get to sleep, this is when the sneak attaches happen (and why I always sleep in a top now) but sometimes if it’s a vest / singlet or looser fit t-shirt she can still sneak a boob out and suddenly the unpleasant pinching rolling is a little mouth suckling and I’ve been snuck up on! 

So this is where I’m at, baby is going to be here any day now (hopefully) and my big girl is still desperately attached to my boobs. I feel like a total failure that I haven’t been able to wean her and at the same time that I am not just giving her the comfort that she is asking for. I am so nervous about the potential upset this is going to cause her, being denied the boob while watching her little brother on there (constantly if I remember rightly). It’s so late now that there isn’t much more I can do but continue what I have been doing which has been working, sort of, but not completely. And I also need a strategy to end the nipple twiddling which seriously is the worst! 

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Feeling Insecure

I feel insecure all the time, it is one of my most annoying traits, but could it be one of my best too (?) as it might just push me to be better. I am frequently anxious that I should be doing more, differently, or better in pretty much all aspects of life including parenting. I worry that my food isn’t healthy enough, exciting enough and that it doesn’t have enough variety. I look at other instamums and instadads and think “wow that food looks delicious / interesting / beautifully arranged / creative / well lit (!) / on gorgeous plates / in stunning homes……” The list goes on. Then I look at my own food and think, “wow the light it TERRIBLE in my house, my food looks so bland, argh my child is eating the same 5 meals on rotation (!), why can’t I make elaborate dinosaur / under the sea / fairy tale pictures with toast?! Etc” basically I do myself a disservice by comparing myself to other people (who really I know nothing about), when really I should just compare myself to myself. Am I doing the best I can, with what I have? And I think that most of the time the answer is Yes

   
 Sometimes a Babybel, a rice cake and half a banana is a totally valid meal choice! But sometimes a made from scratch lasagna or maybe a fully organic, ancient grains recipe is on the table. Some days my breast fed baby really isn’t interested in food at all and will barely eat, managing on a few snacks and plenty of mummy feeds – this can lead to guilt and anxiousness too – but I try to tell myself she usually eats normally and sometimes I have days where I am more or less hungry than others, and My Food Baby is a person too, even if she is a very small one! 

  
I do wish that I was a little more adventurous, and sometimes I put this lack of adventure down to Mr My Food Baby having a bit of a bland palette – he will argue black is white that he doesn’t but he does – and so I avoid making too many things that I know he won’t enjoy. He works very hard and him coming home to a yummy dinner is as important to me as it is to him. 

How I try to combat the feeling of insecurity and anxiousness is to do something about it. Sounds easy, and it is – sort of. So I know that I am not a master creator, I will not be creating pieces that could be in the museum of modern art or in a Disney film, but I can make meals hat look inviting….to me at least. I can’t buy every single cool and awesome plate I want – actually sometimes I try (I really really tried to buy some of the ezpzfun mats – they are awesome!) but I can pick up things that are within my budget or physical location and work with those – I have a stack of multi coloured round plates from IKEA which were cheap, durable and actually look pretty great in pictures 👍🏻 I don’t have the time – or the inclination – with two little monsters / cuties (depending on the day) running around to make every single morsel from scratch, but I can make pancakes, my own pasta sauce, salad dressings, muffins etc, and I take a lot of pride in these things when I do. I am no Martha Stuart, I’m more of a Mumma S’trying. 

   
 I love nothing more than putting down plates of yummy, healthy, filling food in front of the people I love. And when I see them gobble up the food, or even throw it on the floor, I feel happy and proud. I don’t feel insecure or anxious because I know I have done a good job. So to all the ladies and gents out there feeding your little ones, try not to be anxious, sad, insecure or jealous of other peoples’ talents – you have your own talents and the fact that you are putting a meal down in front of a hungry little face proves that, whatever it may look like 😉 And sometimes it’s totally ok to take pictures on the floor because there’s just not enough clean bench space…

  
CJ x

My Food Baby is still being fed…. I promise

IMG_9550Wow so much food has been consumed, and thrown on the floor, since my last post, I feel a bit sheepish! We have had a crazy time at home with lots of completely un-food-related things going on coupled with a severely over-full iPhone which often point blank refuses to take pictures because it’s too full but also won’t let me upload and then delete them either (*pulls hair out!) As a result I have not been as conscientious as I have wanted to be with uploading pictures to Instagram, and I have really struggled to find time to write my blog. I have spent plenty of time thinking about it, and what I would write, but with a sick and teething baby thrown into the mix, who goes to sleep no problem but refuses to stay asleep, everything has been a little off-track. I have found a moment – right now she is watching Waybuloo (thank you cBeebies) and I am getting my blog on.

As I have finished filling you full of excuses and apologies I’ll get into what’s been filling My Food Baby.  Over the last four weeks I have been doing some experimental cooking with varying degrees of success;

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– Sugar free apple and raisin muffins. I was pretty happy with these and I will post the recipe in the recipes section of the blog. They were quick and easy to make, they were healthy for the girls, easy to carry around and quite nutritious – the only downside was I did find them a little dry.

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Ready for Miss Toddler

– Pizza making (the cheat version). I bought some yummy fresh pizza bases from our local Italian grocer; I covered them with layer of tinned tomato (I would usually use a homemade tomato sauce but this was an “I need a meal STAT” moment) and then handed them over to Miss Toddler. I gave her bowls filled with the topping, grated cheese, sliced red onion, sliced mushrooms, red pepper / capsicum, tinned sweet corn and turkey breast slices torn up. I let her cover both pizzas herself, just adding a little extra toppings around the edges once she had finished as she tended to keep everything pretty central. This was such a fun and easy task for a 27 month old, she really enjoyed it and it was clear that she felt a great sense of achievement, happily telling Daddy about how she made the pizzas, and that she ate all the cheese hahahaha!

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Eating all the cheese!

This is a great way to do pizza as you can get lots of sneaky veggies in there through the sauce and the toppings too. It was extremely quick, particularly using the premade base – you could also use Lebanese flat breads or pitta breads. Miss Toddler and My Food Baby loved the pizza, and so did Mummy and Daddy so it was an all round win.


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Decorating with sweetcorn
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The finished product

– Chunky vegetable soup / stew. This was a successful almost-bare cupboard/fridge meal that My Food Baby and Mummy really enjoyed, Daddy was happy when I added chicken. The soup was made without any salt or stock (just water) but was still really tasty as I used plenty of onion, garlic and herbs. The soup had leeks, courgette / zucchini, sweet potato and mixed beans and everything was nice and chunky for baby to get a good hold on – and to give the vegetation food the feeling of substance.

– Pizza (again), mini pizzas for My Food Baby. The base was a cut out from the middle of a wholemeal tortilla, the sauce was homemade pasta sauce, and the toppings were a little grated cheese, some pear slices and some rocket. She liked this a lot, I think I should have made the pizza bigger. I think this is a great way to introduce interesting flavour combinations, such as the pear and rocket, with the safety of cheese and tomato!

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Pancake Face

– I have also been experimenting with pancakes – these have all been very tasty, but for some reason I really struggle to get consistently attractive looking pancakes. I have used the basic 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour recipe and then added mashed ripe banana and sultanas for really yummy pancakes. When I make plain ones I add fruit after – I have found frozen fruit works quite well as if you get it out of the freezer when you start making the batter then it is partially defrosted in time to mash on to the warm pancakes – yum yum – and great for shopping day or if you haven’t got any soft fruits.

All of my cooking for baby is without the use of salt or sugar, and if I feel the food requires salt for us, I add it after I have taken out the girls’ portions or on mummy and daddy’s plates.

Here is a quick round up of what else have we been eating a lot of this last month….EGGS – (hard) boiled, scrambled and in omelettes, SWEET CORN – tinned and on the cob, RICE CAKES – with vegemite, peanut butter, avocado and cream cheese and SPAGHETTI ‘BOLOGNAISE’ – I make the sauce between once a week and once a fortnight, and I make plenty so it does at least three meals. Everybody loves mummy’s pasta sauce, except mummy when she’s trying to get it out of clothes!! This sauce is such a great meal base as I can add meat for the carnivores, Quorn mince or extra veggies for me, and it can also be used for making a yummy pizza topping (and any other dish which requires a tomato base).

This week I managed to buy a set of pretty shaped fondant cutters which I am enjoying playing with. These were $5 for a set of about 20 cutters from Aldi. I am very happy with them, and although they are not as good as the metal bento vegetable cutters, they were significantly cheaper, and just as fun, I think! I can’t cut very hard things, such as carrots, with much success but I have had fun with strawberries, kiwis, cheese, turkey slices and mushrooms already. Keep an eye on Instagram @myfoodbabyblog for some more creative food photos.

Do you regularly go to a few old, or new, favourites and sprinkle other foods in, or do you have a constantly changing repertoire? Do you have any super easy, yummy, healthy meals that I am missing in my routine? I would love to hear from you.

CJ x

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